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The Child Who: A Novel Paperback – February 28, 2012
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“Gripping… The much acclaimed, award-winning British writer Simon Lelic continues to impress with his second psychological thriller, The Child Who.” — Houston Chronicle
"British author Lelic follows his acclaimed debut, A Thousand Cuts, with an equally gripping psychological thriller also inspired by a horrific real-life crime…Lelic dares to make his lead less than Atticus Finch…and the plot unfolds in a way few readers will anticipate." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"By page three, Simon Lelic's harrowing and haunting novel The Child Who has you utterly in its snares. A daring writer but also a deeply open- hearted one, he renders his flawed but sympathetic characters with the most tender of hands, heightening the tale's suspense and drawing us even closer." — Megan Abbott, author of The End of Everything
"Lelic faces thorny issues of guilt and responsibility head on, and no one comes out unscathed." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"An agile, perceptive writer...Could this be Lelic's breakthrough book? It deserves to be." — The Guardian (UK)
“Lelic’s three novels are breakneck, intelligent ‘social thrillers’ that even invade my dream-life.”—David Mitchell — David Mitchell
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The head teacher at one of the many schools Daniel attended insists that Daniel was born bad. Yet Daniel's stepfather is no model of self-restraint. To mitigate Daniel's punishment, Leo knows that Daniel needs to talk to a psychologist who can get to the bottom of Daniel's antisocial behavior. Daniel's stepfather steadfastly resists that suggestion, leaving the reader to wonder what the stepfather is trying to hide. The answer is surprising.
The media would have children like Daniel "breaking boulders, even before they had been convicted of a crime." Never mind that he's twelve. Never mind his horrible childhood. He committed a crime and the eye-for-an-eye crowd demands retribution. Their attitude echoes John Major: "We need to condemn a little more and understand a little less" -- as if understanding why people act as they do is a bad thing.
Simon Lelic does a remarkable job of getting inside the young boy's head and of conveying society's unthinking hatred of him. Reading The Child Who is an intense experience.Read more ›
Reading this book really made me think about these questions and innumerable others. I also thought, too, about the reactions people had to Daniel's crime. All of the flak that Leo took for trying to do his job and be this kid's solicitor was ridiculous. I just fail to understand why anyone would send him hate mail or protest him for fulfilling his role in the country's justice system.
Moving into the problems here...I think I would have preferred this if it were from the perspective of a child psychologist or something like that. Leo's understanding of Daniel is limited, and we see through his eyes any time Daniel's actually present. Even when he gets Daniel to talk, he doesn't know the right questions to ask or have any analysis to bear. Even when he gets a psychologist to speak with Daniel and she diagnoses a couple of things, nothing really comes of it because Leo isn't smart enough or isn't the right kind of smart to do anything with it.
What really got to me, though, was the writing style. For one thing, the sentences are really simple, which could be a stylistic decision, but just made the whole thing choppy and hard to read. Also, the third person narration tended to follow along with a character, but who changed from chapter to chapter. Lots of authors use this technique, but, here, it was rather difficult to parse.Read more ›
"The Child Who" written by Simon Lelic is of the murder/mystery genre of fiction novels. The writing style is variously complex and lengthy with liberal use of commas and a mixed narration that mimics conversation at times. Occasionally, close attention is required to discern meaning where comma delimited references appear seeming to substitute for parenthetical references.
The story in main is about a young boy, one Daniel Blake, who inexplicably murders his schoolmate Felicity Forbes and about a lawyer, one Leo Curtice and his family that becomes involved in the case when Leo attempts to represent Daniel before the court of jurisprudence and the court of public opinion.
This novel seems to have some difficulty right from the start. There seems to be background missing that would ordinarily have provided the reader with a sense of the outrage that the author alludes to in the composition. While the murder by a 12 year old is certainly a horrific ordeal, the implication that the boy was publicly loathed just short of lynching just doesn't surface. Add to this, then, the reaction of Leo Curtice's family and things just don't seem to fit right.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good along with great sadness! Started to give up a couple of times but glad I did not and finished it!Published on February 14, 2014 by Dana Cowen
The book had all the promise of being an excellent read, but unfortunately, I felt the story never developed as it could have. The end was very poor. Read morePublished on January 19, 2014 by Suze
A taut, excellent thriller, heavily based on the notorious Bulger/Mary Bell murder cases in the UK, Lelic handles a difficult topic bravely. Read morePublished on August 15, 2013 by Judy Croome
I really enjoyed Lelic's "A Thousand Cuts," but this one left me disappointed. The subject matter is interesting, but I found many of the plot twists implausible, and some of the... Read morePublished on March 26, 2013 by LifeboatB
Based on its subject matter, I was a little hesitant to pick this up, but its virtues turned out to far outweigh any negatives. Read morePublished on December 16, 2012 by Peggy Stone
This was different being the main character is able to remember everything she has ever been around or seen. Gave the story a different take on things. Read morePublished on July 19, 2012 by Amazon Customer
This was what I would call a "good read." It's not Pulitzer Prize material, but it IS worth reading. It kept me involved in it the whole time. The ending was a little contrived. Read morePublished on June 24, 2012 by Neeku
As an avid reader of Lelic's work I had been looking forward to his third novel and I wasn't disappointed. Read morePublished on June 19, 2012 by Dixie
"The Child Who" by Simon Lelic
A troubled boy kills another child in the English city of Exeter. Read more