The Children's Book

  • by A. S. Byatt
  • Narrated by Nicolette McKenzie
  • 31 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Olive Wellwood is a famous writer, interviewed with her children at her side. For each of them she writes a separate private book. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh they play in a story-book world - but their lives, those of their rich cousins and of their friends are already inscribed with mystery...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Adult book about the pleasures of knowledge

I am a huge fan of A.S. Byatt's Posession, and there are many similarities in this latest book. As an audiobook, the Narrator does a wonderful job with many different characters and story threads.

However, be warned, this is long - over 31 hours, and follows the lives of two generations of a constellation of families living in the English countryside at the turn of the 20th century. This is a very English novel, full of cups of tea, letters and London's museums.

Byatt is brilliant on the gathering forces of England and Germany at the beginning of the 20th century and despite the many different story threads and length I very much enjoyed the time I spend with this book.
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- Phillip

A feast of ideas and characters.

I really enjoyed this audiobook. I loved both the story and narration. There are so many levels of ideas and meaning that make it a fascinating "read' and a storyline that makes it an enjoyable one.

I loved the amount of information about the historical period and the Arts and Crafts Movement but some might find this overwhelming.

I read some reviews of the print edition that said the book was too complex and too hard to follow, so I was a bit nervous about listening to it instead. But I had no trouble at all - in fact it may have been easier to understand than the print version because Byatt writes in such long involved paragraphs that I find visually hard to follow.


I have been able to listen in big slabs of time which probably helped me follow and maintain interest in the story - I can imagine it might be harder if I had to listen in short bursts or was trying to multitask while listening, just because it is so long.

There are a lot of characters, and some could have been better developed but I still found myself wishing I could meet many of them.


The narrator has done a great job - a seamless reading in a very appropriate accent. With so many characters it must have been challenging to try and express them all differently but she did a great job.


Overall one of the best Audible downloads I have listened to in a long time.
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- Megan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-12-2009
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks