February was a good reading month. I read 9 books. The full list is on my Books Read in 2012 page (see the tab above).
My Book of the Month is Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski. It is a beautiful book. Once I started reading I didn’t want to put it down; I just had to know what happened. It’s the story of Hilary Wainwright, who is searching for his son, lost five years earlier in the Second World War. Hilary had left France just after his wife, Lisa, had given birth to John. Lisa, unable to leave France, worked for the Resistance, but was killed by the Gestapo and her son disappeared.
After the war ended Hilary is contacted by Pierre, a friend of Lisa’s, who told him he may have found the boy, living in an orphanage in rural France and Hilary sets out to discover if the boy is really his son.
It’s written in such clear, straightforward language and yet at the same time it is emotional, heart-wrenching and nerve-wracking, full of tension, but never sentimental. The depiction of post-war France is chilling conveying the deprivations, suspicion and bitterness of the times. Hilary is a solitary person, a poet and an intellectual, who has difficulty with relationships. This makes it difficult for him to accept that the little boy is his without an instinctive feeling or conclusive evidence – looks, mannerisms or the child’s own recollections. Whilst he is longing to find his son, after he Lisa had died and he had lost the boy, he had closed himself off from feelings:
I couldn’t endure being hurt again: I’d sooner feel nothing. I don’t like children as such; they bore me. I used to think that a child of my own would make me happy, but I know that isn’t true any more. I’ve got nothing to offer a child … I just want to be left alone so that I can’t be hurt again. (page 75)
It’s not only the little boy who is lost, it is also his father.
He goes through mental agonies once he meets the child, unsure that he is his son, and in several minds about what he should do. The boy is adorable and by the end of the book I began to think it didn’t matter whether he was his son or not, I just wanted them to be happy together.
My rating: 5/5
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Persephone Books Ltd (23 Oct 2008)
- Language English
- ISBN-10: 1906462054
- ISBN-13: 978-1906462055
- Source: I bought my copy
Kerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is collecting crime fiction ‘picks of the month’. During February I read 4 crime fiction and my Crime Fiction Pick of the Month is Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie – Miss Marple’s last case.