Sunday, 26 September 2010

The Children of Dynmouth

Author: William Trevor
Publisher: Penguin Decades
Published: 1st April 2010 (First Published 1976)
RRP: £8.99

  Dynmouth is a dull seaside town on the south coast of England full of seemingly mundane characters going about their monotonous daily business.  Except Timothy Gedge.  Timothy Gedge, a lonely teenager, likes to watch what the adults of the town are up to.  He knows all of their secrets.  Determined to become famous and enter the Easter Fete 'Spot the Talent' competition he uses his knowledge to manipulate the adults and children around him to achieve his goal, without any remorse for his actions.

  Originally written in 1976 I can imagine that this book raised a few eyebrows and I think it still achieves that. The book tackles many difficult themes; infidelity, homosexuality, murder, suicide, secrets and the damage life has imposed on a teenage boy.  Cleverly written, it feels like a film with each scene being seen through the eyes of a different character, this enables you to feel the effects Timothy's actions have on the people around him. The story unravels at a gentle pace much like the pace of life in this quiet town and feels as though it will reach a huge climax, maintaining suspense throughout.  There are no hard-hitting action scenes in the book, instead the interest lies in the manipulation and creepiness of Timothy.

  I did enjoy this book, it was macabre and gripping.  Having a child as the central character, achieving all this destruction I found interesting; instead of being horrifying, I just found it sad.  In the penultimate chapter Mr Featherstone states "His eyes were the eyes of the battered, exceot that noone had ever battered Timothy Gedge...Existence had battered him."  Although the character of Timothy was strange, I did feel great pity towards him, an unwanted child, neglected of attention, determined not to work in the sandpaper factory and had developed distance from people.  The book was really thought-provoking and I would recommend people give it a go.  It's not action-packed but it is definitely full of intrigue.

Rating: 7/10


Anonymous said...

Nice review - I read it years ago and couldn't remember the plot, thanks!

Amy Blowes said...

Glad you enjoyed it, it's always good to rediscover old tales!