Book Reviews

The Wrong Child by Barry Gornell

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List Price: £9.99


Paperback: 272 Pages.

Published: 12 May 2016 by Freight Books

ISBN: 1910449806

EAN: 9781910449806

21 of 22 children in a rural village die in a disaster. By chance, the 'wrong' child, Dog Evans, lives. Crippled with survivor's guilt, his parents abandon Dog to a feral, marginal life, shunned by those left behind, for whom his presence is a daily reminder of unbearable loss. In The Wrong Child, author Barry Gornell's forensic gaze dissects the fractured lives of the bereaved, frozen the day their children died. Deborah Cutter, rejected by husband John, numbs her pain with alcohol and sex. Local postman, Nugget, clings to the hope the Evans house contains valuable secrets. Parish priest, Father Wittin, is an embarrassing irrelevance. As grief burns to rage, the villagers' insatiable desire for catharsis and sacrifice becomes unstoppable. The master of 'rural noir', Gornell has created a mesmerising, heart breaking examination of small town life with a remarkable note of hope within the darkness.


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Dark & Harsh

A terrible accident happens in a small, fairly isolated village. The school building collapses and there is only one survivor. The rest of the children and their teacher are killed. The village mourns for the lost generation. However it also mourns that the surviving child is "Dog" Evans. This tragedy sets in motion a series of events within the village leaving no lives untouched.

This is a very hard book to describe. It is dark but also quite a harsh and unrelentling book. The author shows up the harsh and dark side of human nature with very little let up. The characters make many decisions, not all of which we understand. Some actions are never totally explained - what is the real underlying reason that "Dog's" Mother cannot even bear to look at him? Where does all the money come from? These and other questions are never fully answered leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions as best they can.

This is quite a depressing book as there is very little cheer throughout. The book follows the thread of the present day on the anniversary of the accident & the following days. It also looks back in time, telling the story of the children and their actions on the fateful day that the school collapsed. This is where there is a glimmer of brightness as many of the children are bright and happy, playing in the snow on the way to school. However, even through their stories is the unrelenting darkness of Dog Evans.

Did I enjoy this book? It is hard to say as it was really quite a negative book looking at the very dark side of humanity. I am, however, glad that I read it. The butterfly effect of events or actions is shown throughout. The writing is good with interesting descriptions. Although the characters aren't particularly nice, I did feel that they were quite real and three dimensional. I think I would probably describe this as an "Interesting" read.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.

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