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Golden child : a novel
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2019
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Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Adam's first novel is a moving study of her native Trinidad centered around the Deyalsingh family: hardworking and determined father Clyde, ferociously protective if slightly wistful mother Joy, and their twin sons, Peter and Paul. Divided into three parts, the novel begins with 13-year-old Paul's disappearance after an argument with his father and moves backward, creating a vivid, affectionate portrait of both the island and the family. The second section focuses on the boys, who have been distinguished since early childhood by what others perceive as a noticeable disparity in intelligence. Peter is the smart one. Paul, who has been labeled slightly retarded, is anxious and likely dyslexic and lives in the shadow of his loving brother and under the unvoiced threat of being sent to an institution by his exasperated father. Adam's writing is luxuriant, evoking the atmospheric island setting and the complicated, worried lives lived under a near-constant sense of impending violence. Family squabbles over money turn menacing in part three, as Clyde faces a series of terrible decisions that spool out like a crime thriller. Heartbreaking and lovely, this is an important work by a promising new voice. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

In a debut novel set in the author's native Trinidad, 13-year-old Paul—diffident and troublesome, unlike his golden-child twin, Peter—gets lost in the bush. Next in the new imprint from Sarah Jessica Parker.

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Library Journal Reviews

The golden child is Peter, one of the Deyalsingh twins. He's the more scholarly of the two, and his parents, Clyde and Joy, are saving money to send him to college in the United States. His brother Paul, nicknamed Tarzan, is the wild child who spends his time in the bush near their house in rural Trinidad. When the family home is robbed, Joy begs Clyde to move to Port of Spain, where they will be closer to the boys' school and likely safer. But Clyde doesn't want to pay rent in the city, holding onto their savings for Peter's education. Not long after the robbery, Paul goes missing. His parents frantically search for him, their fears stoked by the violence and kidnappings sweeping the island. The novel starts off slowly but gains momentum as the search for Paul continues, with the family dynamics getting more complicated as the tension around the missing boy grows and family divisions, conflicts, and betrayals are revealed. The last third of the book reads like a thriller but never loses its emotional depth. VERDICT Recommended for readers of suspenseful family dramas. [See Prepub Alert, 7/18/18.]—Pamela Mann, St. Mary's Coll. Lib., MD

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Adam's excellent debut explores a dark and haunting Sophie's Choice–like dilemma set in the lush and dangerous bush of Trinidad. At the center are 13-year-old twin brothers—Peter, the brilliant son with a golden future, and Paul, the family's sorrow—who are simultaneously lifted and doomed by the aspirations of their parents, relatives, and teachers. The first of three parts begins with the disappearance of Paul after a harsh tongue-lashing by his father, Clyde. The second part reveals Paul's troubled childhood, in which he's cast as mentally slow and Peter as a genius by their doting mother, Joy, Paul's lifelong protector. It's also when the concern of an Irish priest at the boys' school in Port of Spain opens Paul to his first-ever glimmer of hope and confidence—before a break-in at the family's rural home triggers the tragic chain of events leading to Paul's disappearance. In the third part, Clyde makes the heartbreaking choice—forced by a jealous family member—that seals the fate of the boys and family. Throughout this stunning portrait of Trinidad's multicultural diversity, and one family's sacrifices, soaring hopes and ultimate despair, Adam weaves a poetic lightness and beauty that will transfix readers. (Jan.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Author Biography

Claire Adam was born and raised in Trinidad. She lives in London. - (Random House, Inc.)

Annotations

Working exhausting hours in their rural Trinidad home, the family of a petroleum-plant worker is shattered by the disappearance of a troubled twin son whose fate forces his father to make a devastating choice. A first novel. - (Baker & Taylor)

Working exhausting hours in their rural Trinidad home, the family of a petroleum plant worker is shattered by the disappearance of their troubled twin son whose fate forces his father to make a devastating choice. - (Baker & Taylor)

A new novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint, SJP for Hogarth: a deeply affecting debut novel set in Trinidad, following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices about scarcity, loyalty, and love

Golden Child is a stunning novel written with force and beauty.  Though true to herself, Adam's work stands tall beside icons of her tradition like V.S. Naipaul.”—Jennifer Clement, author of Gun Love

Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.

When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn't come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters—leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

Like the Trinidadian landscape itself, GOLDEN CHILD is both beautiful and unsettling; a resoundingly human story of aspiration, betrayal, and love. - (Random House, Inc.)

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