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The Children

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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  34 reviews
When their father is critically injured, foreign correspondent Mandy and her siblings return home, bringing with them the remnants and patterns of childhood. Mandy has lived away from the country for many years. Her head is filled with images of terror and war, and her homecoming to the quiet country town - not to mention her family and marriage - only heightens her discon...more
Paperback, 269 pages
Published October 2007 by Allen & Unwin (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 334)
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Julie Proudfoot
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dale Harcombe
Hard to classify this book and just as hard to rate it. But I think I’ll stick with 3 stars.
Some of it is beautifully written and made me sit and absorb the structure of sentences and descriptions, like that of crepe myrtles, ‘are in shocking pink flower all down the road. When she was little she loved their gaudy pinks and crimsons, but as she grew older she began to realise they were tawdry, that these were the colours of bargain shops and chemist-brand lipsticks and she became ashamed for the...more
Mish
In a small county town, Geoff is outside doing repairs to the roof. Margaret, his wife was in the in the kitchen preparing dinner when she heard a loud ‘thump’. Geoff has fallen. He’s in a very bad way with severe head injuries and they don’t know if he will survive. Margaret calls her adult children, Mandy, Stephen and Cathy, to tell them of the terrible news and the siblings all return home.

Mandy is a foreign correspondent and has been living in war zones parts of the world for many years, whi...more
Steve lovell
A dysfunctional woman returns from a dysfunctional war zone to her dysfunctional marriage in a seemingly functional Australia. It is the summer of the Cronulla riots with a cold-hearted prime minister politically and not too subtly fanning racial intolerance. A father's tragic accident is the reason for a family coming together to bicker, to go over old hostilities and to try and see each other in a less corrosive light. Another dysfunctional life then imposes itself on the family allowing Woods...more
Brenda
Oct 21, 2014 Brenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brenda by: library bookclub
I enjoyed this book very much. It is a different type of book for me, but it is our current bookclub book and a quick, easy read.

It tells the story of 3 adult children who return home to Rundle, near Sydney, Australia, when their father is terribly injured falling from the roof of his house...

Mandy is a war correspondent based in Iraq, and has seen awful things happen..Stephen has been estranged from his family for years, and Cathy has been trying to keep the family together. Chris is Mandy's hu...more
Kate
I get a little gushy when I talk about Charlotte Wood. Her writing hits all the right chords for me, particularly her quiet, thoughtful observations about everyday life. She manages to pick out the extraordinary in the ordinary.

You’re probably wondering why then, if I love her work so much, I haven’t read everything she’s ever written already. It’s simply because I like to meter my reading joy. Do you feel a ‘but’ coming?

The Children wasn’t my favourite thing Charlotte Wood has written. Many of...more
Nadine Millar
Here is a collection of the most depressed, depressing individuals that it is possible to conjure in one small volume. The inside flap would have you believe that you're taking a journey into the heart of a family "as normal, and as broken, as any other". What a load of ostrich feathers. Everyone knows there's no such thing as a normal family, and the reference to broken is simply to cash in at the counter for the Recognition of Dysfunctional Families (incorporated).

Don't get me wrong. Dysfunct...more
Robyn
I really like this author; have now read this and also "Animal People" which is a loose sequel to TC and very much enjoyed both. Her characters are ordinary Australians of all types, and through them she touches on many contemporary issues in a really interesting way. This book - dealing with a family coming together after the father has a serious accident - was poignant, especially for those who have lost a parent, or indeed, grown up with brothers and sisters. The seriousness is leavened thoug...more
Jillwilson
Last night at my women's group we talked about the impact of being in a tribe - in my case a large and close family. We talked about the sense of security it gives you. There is a layer of confidence that you have in going out to meet the world, beacuse your tribe is strong, you are loved, there are people that will care for you and opportunities for intimacy. It provides a kind of resilient backbone.

The Children is about siblings in a family. It might not be very interesting if it was about a...more
Mark Peterson
Wood seems to have a great gift for evocative imagery, and few novels I've read recently capture scenes with such vivid and captivating detail. Likewise, the characters are beautifully complex and believable, particularly the misunderstood Tony. Both loathsome and pitiable, he rings true to every social outcast you've awkwardly tried to interact with.

In fact, Wood seems to have an astute grasp of the broken, as everyone in the story is disfunctional in some unique but believable way (although t...more
Diana
The Children is a perfectly detailed, unflinchingly honest story about a family unable to adequately communicate or empathise with each other as they deal with the critical injury of their father. The story focuses on Mandy, the eldest, who is a foreign war correspondent, the person she has become in her years of work, and how this affects her relationships and outlook.

The details and observations in this book are impressive and true, while the prose is startling and beautiful. The story itself...more
Kirstie
I found this book a very compelling read. It centres on a family whose father has been hospitalised - the three children return home. One of them is a war correspondent, and it is her story that becomes the central source of narrative tension. Her unhappy marriage and her increasing alienation from her family were fascinating. What drives her to 'bear witness' to the ugliest aspects of life was explored both sympathetically (she hates social pretence) but also very darkly (it's become an adrenal...more
Yvonne Boag
When their father is badly injured falling off the roof of the family home, three grown children return to the town they grew up in. Mandy is a war correspondent in Iraq and is the oldest sister. Battered and broken she finds it so hard to relate to anything or anyone any more including her husband Chris. Stephen, the middle child has been estranged from his family for years while Cathy, the youngest is the peacekeeper trying to keep the family together. Margaret, their mother is trying to adjus...more
Tracey
Really enjoyed this. An insightful exploration of the relationships between adult children, and how childhood events shape and inform the adults we become.

I'm already looking forward to reading Charlotte Wood's next book.

Favourite quotes:
"The earliest kites consisted of a huge leaf attached to a long string, he reads. He turns the pages, looking at all those kites, stamped bright into all the skies around the world, each one suspended there like a held breath."

"You bring your children up to esca...more
Maggie
Have just finished this book and I feel ambivalent about it. At times I thought I wouldnt continue with it, especially early on, but I stayed with it and feel glad that I did so. It concerns three adult children returning home to sit at their father's bedside following a traumatic injury. The past joins them. My only concern is that it is very clearly set in Australia - not a bad thing! - but I wonder how overseas readers will understand the frequent local references. These references are passin...more
Amanda Hanison-Nagel
Interesting, I felt like the end could have been 20 pages earlier or later, not clearly defined. Left me with some powerful images though...
Bronwyn Rykiert
This was a sad story but well told about a family gathering together for first time in a long time around the hospital bed of the father who has had a bad accident.

Mandy, the war correspondent, her husband Chris, brother Stephen sister Kathy and their mother Margaret. There is also Tony a wardsman who has an imagined connection to Mandy and he kept track of her stories on the news.

It was about coming home to your childhood home and struggling to connect with their emotions and about forgiveness...more
Yvonne Cowell
wonderful grasp of small town life in australia and the inner workings of a family during tragedy
background of crisis experienced by one daughter in war torn countries and then the isolation and ignorance of australians.of overseas political events.
memories of each child of their childhood which has stamped their character and the parents left an indelible mark ,
beautifully written ,some statements e.g.like australian boys enter adolescence and never come out are priceless
Gayle Powell
interesting read, liked the storyline, of adults all returning to the small country town that they had left behind years before. Their father has had a serious accident and they spend time in and out of the local hospital and supporting their mother, but it is not long before old hurts and feelings surface. Well written, I would read more of her works. Characters, although not exactly 'likeable' people, were very well drawn. Almost sinister at times, as tension mounts between them all.
Karin
I randomly picked this up at the library and I am so happy I did. The language is beautifully evocative of an Australian small town. It touches on a few issues such as family relationships and the impact war has on those who report it. I will definitely be looking out for more of her work.
Flexnib
It's hard to grow up.

The family relationships in this book are so finely drawn it was almost too painful to read. The father's dying and the children's reactions are all a bit close to home for me at the moment, too - which is why I think I just could not put this book down.
Christabel Seneque
Well-observed dialogue, and the interactions between the siblings are achingly real. I loved how the setting was clearly Australian, but without trying too hard. I was really impressed by this, and deeply moved.
Book Bazaar
We read this one with Friday Morning Book Club - This was my second reading and I was struck by the beautiful writing and how well the sibling relationships were depicted.
We gave it 8/8/7/8/8
Teena
Intense, beautifully written story of a family brought together in the tragedy of an accident. The drama of the ending was a surprise to me. I loved it and want to read more of her writing.
Lisa
This is a story about siblings as adults during a crisis when their father is injured brining them together. I loved this book.
John Purcell
Loved The Children. Clear simple prose with deep and lasting effects. There is always more going on than you think.
Brenda Kittelty
I read these two novels out of order but it didn't matter. This book was a wonder, I loved every page.
Alina
The kind of book you fall asleep thinking about and wake at 3 am to finish- I did. Brilliant
Joanna Nicol
Lovely conscious Australian novel with an international flavour and a familiar setting
Cosi Krzanich
I found this captivating. The family dynamic was detailed, intriguing, and heartfelt.
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