A Study of the Life of Artist: Review of The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt




A work of historical literary fiction, The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt is also a study of the life of the artist, whether the artist is a writer, a potter, a puppeteer or a jeweler that works in metals. The story opens in 1896 and ends twenty-three later, after WWI ends. I cannot say that I liked the book. That is not uncommon for me with other works of serious literary fiction. A detached existence, keeping the reader at bay was my perception of the style of writing. The story, saga of an intertwined sets of couples and families is similar in scope of Downton Abbey and other series. The Children’s Book was good in that sense–a seemingly real and accurate portrayal of Britannia back then. The end I loved; the poetry of Julian near the end gave me a real sense of what life as a trench solider in WWI was like. The development of works of art was mesmerizing and inspiring. The works of arr themselves I could not get into, and if I had been reading, rather than listening, might have skipped. The history sections in the beginning were better, less draggy than toward the end, but I thought should had been blended in more with the story line.