The Children's Home

The Children's Home

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"For fans of Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, a beguiling and disarming debut novel from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor--and the startling revelations their behavior evokes. In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper Engel. Then more children begin to show up. Dr. Crane, the town physician and Morgan's lone tether to the outside world, is as taken with the children as Morgan, and begins to spend more time in Morgan's library. But the children behave strangely. They show a prescient understanding of Morgan's past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion attics grow increasingly disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into the hidden rooms of the estate, and perhaps, into the hidden corners of Morgan's mind. The Children's Home is a genre-defying, utterly bewitching masterwork, an inversion of modern fairy tales like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass, in which children visit faraway lands to accomplish elusive tasks. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, Jamesian stream of consciousness, and neo-gothic horror, to reveal the inescapable effects of abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque--as well as the glimmers of goodness--buried deep within the soul"-- Provided by publisher.
"For fans of Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, a beguiling and disarming debut novel from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor--and the startling revelations their behavior evokes"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Scribner,, 2016
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781501117398
9781501117404
Characteristics: 210 pages ; 22 cm

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l
lpilcher
Aug 10, 2019

Very dark.

h
HamiltonBrian
Feb 27, 2019

"I AM ONLY A CHILD BUT ALREADY I HAVE UNDERSTOOD THE WICKEDNESS OF THE WORLD."

Such is the haunting phrase that ends the first half of this novel. I love this story. I absolutely enjoyed the reading of it. The writing is ethereal and poetic, and almost dream-inducing, which is how the setting of the novel seems to play out. I will say that I am left wondering what it's deeper message is. There's a lot of gaps, especially as the grand conflict comes to a close. It's a fairy tale, of sorts, being compared to stories such as Beauty and the Beast. The main character is a "beast" but then there are ghosts that are on some sort of mission. The mission reveals itself, but I am still quizzical about the purpose. It is a novel laden with enough ambiguity to almost be frustrating, but when that frustration is let go and you let the novel "happen," it reminds one of a snowfall observed from within a warm home...beautiful and comforting and possibly never-ending.

I am impressed that this novel came in under the "while you wait" option since the haunting novel I wanted had several holds on it. I am quite happy that this was recommended to me. It's a short read at just over 200 pages and the writing can be quickly read. I did come across passages that I just had to reread because they were so beautifully written.

I highly recommend this little treasure.

Nicr Nov 21, 2016

Peculiar little supernatural story--a dark, dream-like fairy tale. A weird page-turner.

r
Rubicat
Aug 15, 2016

I enjoyed the ambiguity of the direction of this story - i had to keep changing my guesses as to where this was going but i really liked the book. It was quite different from what I usually read, and so much the better for that.

multcolib_karene Feb 21, 2016

A gothic-y fairy tale.

g
goddessbeth
Nov 12, 2015

The Children's Home is fairly engrossing, although so much of it is mysterious that it's not the easiest book to figure out. It's a great read if you're looking for something that makes you think and reflect on deeper concepts. It's got delightfully gothic elements (evocative of Henry James, mostly), but it's primarily a fiction.

I've seen it compared to works by Neil Gaiman, which I'd agree with because of the lyrical word choice and "less is more" approach; I've seen it compared to works by Edward Gorey, which I disagree with because it goes very deep and isn't self-reflective.

I'm still awed by how Lambert was able to weave a multi-level story from what few facts and reality-based touchstones are in this novel. It shouldn't have worked, but it did. And it worked so well that I read it in less than a week, and then had to sit and ruminate on it for another week. And it definitely didn't go where I was certain it would.

This is a book that will keep you guessing, and if you're open to not knowing where the author is going, to surprised and suspension of disbelief, and revel more in the deeper concepts than the surface story, I think you'll enjoy it. It's definitely well-suited to winter (it's published 1/5/16- I read an ARC), and I recommend it for fans of gothic multi-layer lyrical fiction.

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