- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Brilliance Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: December 4, 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AEF7FKY
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Child's Child: A Novel Audiobook – Unabridged
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The Child's Child boils over with intrigue and taught psychological suspense (one of the things I've always adored about rendell/vine's writing). This is not a cheery story as its main focus are individuals who are in danger of being ostracized or even driven to self destruction because of society's inability to tolerate or condone their circumstances or predilections. Rendell often makes stunning analogies and in this case it's between the plight of a young unwed pregnant woman and her tormented homosexual brother. Both are in startlingly different yet similar positions and Vine jolts them to life with fresh vivid prose and then careens back to the 21st century to ensnare their stories with Grace's. This book could have been tedious or maudlin or even too clinical considering the subject matter but the author is so adept at pumping blood into her characters while simultaneously dismembering them. She tears them apart so kindly, so gently, like a stealthy surgeon she reaches in, revealing scars, revealing raw nerves, dead dreams and all too often, a shattered leaking heart.
This new novel contains some of Vine's most memorable and compelling characters -- characters thrown to the devil, characters who erupt before your eyes, and at times I had to pause while reading, for I was overcome with emotion for these ill-fated phantoms as they went on searching for salvation in a wicked, wicked world.
But the manuscript Grace reads is so poignant and compelling, the complaint about the framing story feels like a quibble. This manuscript, The Child's Child, is a novel written in 1951. It's never published because of it's depiction of homosexuality. It's story mirrors the contemporary one. John is the favored son of a very religious Methodist family who casts out their 15 year old daughter when she becomes pregnant. John, a teacher, is homosexual and keeps it a secret from family and work colleagues. He and his sister go to the community where he's just gotten a new teaching job and live as husband and wife. He is very in love with a caddish, uneducated but beautiful young man named Bertie. Hoping that his sister's sense of disgrace will make her sympathetic toward him, he tells her his secret. Alas, she turns out to be very bit as horrified and desirous of respectability as her censorious family. There is a murder in this book but it is not a murder mystery. Both stories are stories of family and betrayal a theme that will sustain novels for as long as they are written. Rendell also talks a bit about the novels Grace is reading for her dissertation. It would be great if people unfamiliar with Gaskell's Mary Barton and Eliot's Adam Bede discovered those novels as well
I found the characters quite dull and the device of setting the earlier novel( which parallels the relationships among the current characters) just doesn't work. By the time you get back to the present after spending most of the novel in the 1950 s, I had completely forgotten who they were..and frankly didn't care.
The novel ended abruptly but I was quite pleased to be done with it.
What a shame that Rendell seems to have lost her touch.