Monday, 1 September 2008

Team B Reads the Bookers - Part 2: Child 44

I wasn't sure about this book at first - it's a little gruesome to start with - but by the end I found it unputdownable. The plot is cleverly constructed to give you tantalising glimpses of the denouement, never quite enough to allow you (or me, at any rate!) to guess what's going to happen but enough to keep you reading.

Set in the Soviet Union in the 1950s, the novel focusses on an agent in the State Security department. He is loyal, dedicated and hard-working, an exemplary employee of a cruel and barbaric regime. But events take an unexpected turn... And I won't say any more because I'd hate to spoil it. The backdrop is evocative - gritty and harsh with a distinct lack of human compassion - and the fact that elements of the book are based on actual events is quite scary!

All in all a good thriller which I'd recommend to anyone who likes a well-written, plot-driven novel.


The Ginger Darlings said...

Can't remember the last Booker book I read. Might have been The Bone People by Keri Hulme. I usually find them dull and difficult. There are so many beautiful books in the world though.
I love Mr. B's. It smells of print and paper.

rose of academe said...

Not all Booker books are dull and difficult! Some of them are real page turners - especially in this year's crop. But Possession, for example, which won way back in 1990, was a wonderfully readable book as well as a very intelligent one. I'm currently halfway through Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, which is so vividly written that you can smell every location, but which surges through its plot (and its places and people) as well as any Hollywood rom com.
All much more fun than The Bone People, which really wasn't a jolly book.