05 January, 2011
The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead (1940)
Yes, it has an unsavoury title but don’t let that put you off this outstanding novel. Only really discovered in the 1960s, The Man Who Loved Children might be the greatest novel ever written about a dysfunctional family – or a family full stop. Stead, an ex-pat Australian, set the novel on the US east coast but it is largely autobiographical. The parents, Sam & Henny are two of the best realised characters I have encountered in literature and Tim Winton is telling a big fat fib if he doesn’t admit that Cloudstreet was largely inspired by this all-too-neglected masterpiece.