A lonely middle-aged eccentric named Kasch falls in love with a beautiful fourteen-year-old girl named Laney and becomes fatefully involved with her family, inhabitants of the distant, impoverished, but enchanting region of Childwold
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Childwold is a farm in decline housing Joseph, a grandfather battling Alzheimer’s; Arlene, a mother obsessed with pregnancy and her children, and Laney, a young girl who befriends a middle aged man – Kasch. Throughout the story, the reader is bounced back and forth between each of these characters points of view as well as Laney’s brother Vale, a Vietnam veteran. This was very character driven which I liked. It sucked me into their lives. It was also somewhat surreal. There became a point where I couldn’t tell if Kasch’s view of his and Laney’s relationship was a product of his madness or more realistic and Laney’s view was one of denial. I particularly liked this passage: “She tried to read the passage again but lost the meaning almost at once. She turned to another page, began another paragraph; but with Laney watching her, and her own feelings in such a turmoil, she couldn’t concentrate. Such crazy complicated sentences! She closed the book and handed it back to Laney, who took it from her in silence, and their eyes brushed each other, and in that instant Arlene felt that she would never be young again: not only would Laney outlive her, and live a life she could not control, but Laney was already grown from her, slipped far from her, beyond Childwold. Her own daughter! She was reading this book, which was only a jumble of words to Arlene, and she treasured it, and Arlene could not follow her into it – could not understand, could not share.”
Review: ChildwoldUser Review - Goodreads
At times dull, at times restlessly experimental, this book is like a lot of Oates' lesser works—too much filler undermining an otherwise interesting premise and plot.