The Children's Book

  • by A. S. Byatt
  • Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
  • 30 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A spellbinding novel, at once sweeping and intimate, from the Booker Prize-winning author of Possession, that spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centers around a famous children's book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves.When Olive Wellwood's oldest son discovers a runaway named Philip sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museum - a talented working-class boy who could be a character out of one of Olive's magical tales - she takes him into the storybook world of her family and friends.But the joyful bacchanals Olive hosts at her rambling country house - and the separate, private books she writes for each of her seven children - conceal more treachery and darkness than Philip has ever imagined.As these lives - of adults and children alike - unfold, lies are revealed, hearts are broken, and the damaging truth about the Wellwoods slowly emerges. But their personal struggles, their hidden desires, will soon be eclipsed by far greater forces, as the tides turn across Europe and a golden era comes to an end.Taking us from the cliff-lined shores of England to Paris, Munich, and the trenches of the Somme, The Children's Book is a deeply affecting story of a singular family, played out against the great, rippling tides of the day. It is a masterly literary achievement by one of our most essential writers.

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What the Critics Say

"Easily the best thing A. S. Byatt has written since her Booker-winning masterpiece, Possession . . . A panoramic cavalcade of a novel [and] a work that superlatively displays both enormous reach and tremendous grip." (The Sunday Times, London)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A wandering story that goes on forever.

Any additional comments?

I had anticipated this book and even requested it from audible before it was released in the US. I really wanted to love this book but I just couldn't connect with the story. Fairy tale in flavor and tone. It wanders over hill and dale using beautifully written prose but to me just never got to the point. A disappointment in that no matter how many times I try to finish it-- I just can't seem to do it.

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- Sara

Confusing with a plethora of characters

The book starts out OK as a social study in late 1800's, but soon turns every which way and becomes quite confusing with far too many characters. As almost every historical novel, this book also blunders in a lot of second guessing by using the views of today in the minds of the people it depicts - and that does not work.
A fair amount of the dialogue is in German and the narrator doesn't have a clue of German pronunciation, which introduces an unintentional comical element.
No, use your time better than to spend time on this book.
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- Wallen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-2009
  • Publisher: Random House Audio