Saturday, 30 July 2016

The Children's Home by Charles Lambert


The Children's Home by Charles Lambert
First published by Aardvark Bureau on the 5th January 2016.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

How I got this book:
Received a copy from its publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Children's Home is set in an unspecified country that is vaguely enough described that it could be almost anywhere. A man in early middle-age, Morgan, lives reclusively behind the high walls of his private estate seen only by a housekeeper, Engel, who arrived mysteriously in the relatively recent past. An earlier accident left Morgan facially disfigured and he copes with his self-imposed isolation by spending hours amongst his grandfather's library of books. He catalogues these books and only occasionally opens one to read it. When a baby is discovered on the kitchen doorstep Morgan allows Engel to care for it and soon other children begin appearing too. All are given a home within the sprawling house.

The Children's Home is another novel which has wonderfully written scenes. Like another recent read, Silk, the prose is beautiful and there are numerous memorable images, although I am hoping that the dark moments towards the end of the tale do fade soon as some were disturbing to read. I have only awarded a three-star rating though because other aspects were irritating or baffling. Lambert has his characters be evasive on frequent occasions. One especially, a precocious boy named David who seems to age rapidly and soons becomes a kind of leader, repeatedly tells us, through Morgan, that we must be patient and the time is not yet right. However, the book isn't very long! Morgan is unbelievably passive and the children are never clearly defined. We don't even learn how many of them there are. The final denouement is graphic and powerful, but I ultimately thought it unsatisfying because I still didn't know what was really going on. The whys and hows aren't explained so it felt like I had read only the middle chapters. A shame because much of the writing itself is very good, but the overall story is so well hidden that, much like Morgan himself, I felt I had completely missed the point.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Charles Lambert / Horror / Books from England

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