Charles Lambert’s ‘genre-defying dream of a novel’ THE CHILDREN’S HOME is published in North America today. Pre-empted by Nan Graham and John Glynn of Scribner, Lambert’s first US publication is an independent booksellers’ Indie Next Pick and has received praise from writers and reviewers alike.
Nuala O’Connor writes: 'Charles Lambert’s muted, beautiful prose leads the reader through THE CHILDREN'S HOME on a chain of burning questions: Who? When? How? Why? More delicate than Dickens and stranger than Snicket, this is a novel of odd, canny children; life-like wax figures; a wicked mother and her disfigured boy-man of a son. Sometimes heart-stopping, sometimes heart-warming, it is a provocative tale, ripe with intrigue and atmosphere. I loved every weird moment of it.’ Owen King describes it as ‘a not-nice sort of fairy tale, where the Prince has a face of tatters, where the children take grown-up revenge on their monsters. It's also, somehow, a searching, empathetic narrative about forgiveness’
Jenny Offill called it ‘a beautiful and uncanny novel by a writer who never ceases to surprise’ and Amelia Gray writes: ‘Dark and nuanced, eerie and quiet, THE CHILDREN’S HOME creeps behind the curtains of your imagination. This book stays with you.’
Pre-publication, both Kirkus and Booklist gave THE CHILDREN’S HOME Starred Reviews:
‘A thoroughly original entry into the tradition of ghost stories, eschewing convention. … Compulsively readable, a one-of-a-kind literary horror story.’ Kirkus
‘A magical, mesmerizing tale about the courage it takes to confront the unknown.’ – Booklist
And the first wider reviews are equally glowing:
‘This disquieting novel is surely one of the year’s most bizarre stories… Mr. Lambert’s subtle prose enhances the novel’s creepiness, as does his refusal to fully resolve or explain its many mysteries.’ – The New York Times
‘THE CHILDREN’S HOME is a powerful construction of creeping dread which skilfully keeps the reader off-balance at every turn. … Much of the joy of THE CHILDREN’S HOME is the uncertainty at its heart, the uncanny nature of the experience which lingers long after the novel concludes. It’s a genre-defying dream of a novel, enigmas wrapped around deeper questions, rooted in the deepest mysteries of all: what is the truth within any of us? What connections do we have to those around us? What hold does the past keep fast on our hearts?’ – Robert Wiersema, The Toronto Star
‘THE CHILDREN’S HOME reads like a dream … a truly unique and memorable experience. If this novel signifies what my reading in 2016 will be like, then it is going to be a wonderful year indeed.’ – Christopher Shultz, LitReactor
A piece by Charles Lambert on stately homes and class, to mark the end of Downton Abbey in the US, also ran in the New York Times this week.
THE CHILDREN’S HOME will be launched in the UK by Aardvark Bureau on 2 March and French rights have been acquired by Éditions Anne Carrière.
Born in England, Charles Lambert lives in Fondi, near Rome, working as a university teacher and freelance editor. He is the author of several novels including LITTLE MONSTERS and ANY HUMAN FACE (Picador) and the autobiographical work WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART (The Friday Project). He has won an O. Henry Award and other prizes for his short fiction.