children's home 1 LR.JPG

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.

Follow Charles on Twitter

Visit Charles' blog.


Charles Lambert’s THE CHILDREN’S HOME pre-empted by Scribner

Photo copyright: Patrizia Casamirra

Photo copyright: Patrizia Casamirra

Charles Lambert’s magnificent work of the literary uncanny, THE CHILDREN’S HOME, has been sold by Isobel Dixon in a pre-empt to Nan Graham and John Glynn at Scribner. Scribner has bought North American rights and will publish in late 2015.  

Morgan is a shockingly disfigured recluse who never leaves the country mansion he is heir to. His isolation is only punctuated by the presence of the housekeeper, Engel, and the weekly visits of the kindly Doctor Crane. But his solitary existence is disturbed when a young boy and girl arrive in the house, as if from nowhere. Drawn to the mysterious children, Morgan lets them stay, and with the help of Engel and Crane, begins to care for them – and others who soon follow them. As the cluster of strangely wise children explore the corridors and abandoned rooms of the house, they reveal to Morgan a cabinet of curiosities – and bitter secrets of his own life.

Charles Lambert’s latest work, WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART, was published in the UK by The Friday Project in 2014, to wide acclaim. His short story ‘The Scent of Cinnamon’, published by ONE STORY,  was a recipient of The O. Henry Award in 2007.


Praise for Charles Lambert:

‘Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it. He takes risks at every turn.’ – Hannah Tinti

‘Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer.' – Beryl Bainbridge



‘One of the finest books I’ve read this year. Its beauty lies in Lambert’s language – his skewering of a particular sentiment with a pithy phrase, his evocation of an experience in a few striking words.’ – A Life in Books Best Books of 2014’

'A striking conceit... elegantly written and carries considerable emotional clout... poetic, tender and funny' –  Guardian

‘With 24 themed chapters and 10 numbered paragraphs, and each paragraph consisting of exactly 120 words, Lambert pieces together the sum of a life using gorgeous pen-portraits. An unusual and wonderful book to dip into.’ – Viv Groskop, Red Magazine