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The Child's Child: A Novel by Barbara Vine
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The Child's Child: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Barbara Vine

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1811665,444 (3.26)4
Member:MmeRose
Title:The Child's Child: A Novel
Authors:Barbara Vine
Info:Scribner (2012), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Child's Child by Barbara Vine

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Fantastic story-telling, but I really thought the first story didn't add, but rather, distracted. I get what the author was going for, but it was the second story (which is the bulk of the book) that captivated me. ( )
  limamikealpha | Jun 5, 2014 |
The Child’s Child is a complex psychological portrait of sibling relationships, young unmarried mothers and gay relationships across time, mixing up a thick stew of betrayal among family in the community. It illustrates that harrowing choices and consequences placed on those living outside society’s mores. There are both observant comparisons being made by the writer and to be drawn by the reader. A stronger balance between the novels would have made this a more satisfying read for me, but anyone interested in thought-provoking and suspenseful historical fiction mixed with a handful of literary musings will find much here to enjoy ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
This book is made up of two stories about illegitimate children, one that acts as a framing device for the other. The more modern story is about a woman who is finishing up a thesis about illegitimate children in literature while sharing a house with her brother and his lover. She soon takes actions that cause her to experience her topic first hand. The story within the story is called The Child's Child and is presented as a manuscript someone has passed along to the main character that contains a novel that was too controversial to be published at its initial writing. The Child's Child is about a fifteen year old girl who becomes pregnant in early 1900s England and who ends up having the maybe and living with her brother, who in turn is using her as a cover for his homosexuality.
There was nothing bad or unlikeable about either of these stories but I also felt that there was nothing that made them feel especially worthy of my time. The framing story, which I found the more interesting of the two, suffered because it was given less time to develop. The Child's Child felt stilted, as if it was written in the style of a novel contemporary to that time, which kept me from being totally immersed. I think I would have appreciated these stories more if they were both shortened and included with a collection of other stories of women having children out of wedlock.
Although this book did have its shortcomings, I would recommend it to someone who is interested in the social history of illegitimacy or homosexuality. The progress that has been made in the acceptance of both is demonstrated by the differences in attitude in the two different stories. ( )
1 vote elmoelle | Aug 9, 2013 |
A new Barbara Vine! I put off reading this, held it back as a reward, since I knew it would be wonderful. But sadly, it wasn't. Two stories, with a book-within-a-book, that are sort of related (themes of siblings; homosexual men; unwed mothers) but without the twists and turns I expect from Vine. I mean, who didn't see that blackmail coming??

The inner story is interesting and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next, but it's written in the same voice as the framing story. It doesn't feel like a different book and nor does it feel like a book from the fifties, as it purports to be.

The framing story is kind of slight and doesn't have the emotional depth or the complex emotions that I associate with Vine/Rendell. The narrator tells us about her emotions but they don't feel real, nor do we understand much about the other characters. They seem to get angry just to move the story along. The end, and the motive of a character who shows up in the last pages, doesn't even make a lot of sense. ( )
  piemouth | Jul 15, 2013 |
Why? I actually asked myself, "Why was this book written?" when I finished it. There's no question that Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine writes well, but why this plot with these characters? ( )
  madamepince | Jul 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
added by gsc55 | editReviews by Amos Lassen (Jan 1, 2014)
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 145169489X, Hardcover)

From three-time Edgar Award–winning mystery writer Ruth Rendell, writing here under her Barbara Vine pseudonym, an ingenious novel-within-a-novel about brothers and sisters and the violence lurking behind our society’s taboos

When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair—until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace’s doctoral thesis soon puncture the house’s idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend’s murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house. Just as turmoil sets in at Dinmont House, Grace escapes into reading a manuscript—a long-lost novel from 1951 called The Child’s Child—never published because of its frank depictions of an unwed mother and a homosexual relationship. The book is the story of two siblings born a few years after World War One. This brother and sister, John and Maud, mirror the present-day Andrew and Grace: a homosexual brother and a sister carrying an illegitimate child. Acts of violence and sex will reverberate through their stories.

The Child’s Child is an enormously clever, brilliantly constructed novel-within-a-novel about family, betrayal, and disgrace. A master of psychological suspense, Ruth Rendell, in her newest work under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, takes us where violence and social taboos collide. She shows how society’s treatment of those it once considered undesirable has changed—and how sometimes it hasn’t.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:01 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When their grandmother dies, Grace and Andrew Easton inherit her sprawling, book-filled London home, Dinmont House. Rather than sell it, the adult siblings move in together, splitting the numerous bedrooms and studies. The arrangement is unusual, but ideal for the affectionate pair--until the day Andrew brings home a new boyfriend. A devilishly handsome novelist, James Derain resembles Cary Grant, but his strident comments about Grace's doctoral thesis soon puncture the house's idyllic atmosphere. When he and Andrew witness their friend's murder outside a London nightclub, James begins to unravel, and what happens next will change the lives of everyone in the house.… (more)

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