The first book to be featured on the Jo Whiley Radio 2 Book Club will be Golden Child, the powerful debut novel by Claire Adam. It is released on 17 January and Claire will be on the show on Monday 21 January.
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It’s dark now; the bats are out. Insects knock against the light on the patio and the dog sits at the gate. A boy has not returned home and a family anxiously awaits. A father steps out into the night to search for his son.
As the hours turn into days, this man will learn many things. He will learn about being a father to twin boys who are in no way alike. He will learn how dangerous hopes and dreams can be. He will learn truths about Trinidad, about his family, and himself. He will question received wisdom and question his judgement. He will learn about sacrifice and the nature of love – and he will be forced to act…
A deeply affecting debut novel set in Trinidad, following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices about scarcity, loyalty, and love.
Selection panel review
The book was selected with the help of a panel of library staff from across the UK. Our readers loved Golden Child – here are some of their comments:
“Set in Trinidad, there’s a sense of menace from the start, with the break in, and how everyone has gates and guard dogs for protection. When Paul goes missing, we feel the father’s anxiety as he hunts for him, his frustration at the lack of help, and the gradual realisation of the danger that Paul is in. Paul’s twin brother Peter is the genius, whilst Paul is slower because of an accident at birth. Their mother has insisted on them being treated the same, but their father Clyde clearly favours Peter. Clyde makes a decision that will affect both boys’ lives, and it left me wondering how he could live with the consequences. I was shocked by the understated ending, and I found the writing so powerful that it stayed with me long after reading it.”
“I wasn’t sure at first if I’d enjoy this book but once I started it I was immediately drawn in. The author slowly builds a picture of life in Trinidad and I could easily imagine the setting from the descriptions. The patois used in the dialogue makes the characters more real. The story is set up well and moves back and forth in time, which works. It tugs at your heartstrings as you read how one of the boys was treated and what happens to him. There’s a sense of foreboding as the story unfolds and I won’t say any more…”
“I enjoyed this book tremendously. Picking up the book with its pink and gold cover I thought it was going to be quite a different read to what it actually was. Not a light positive read, but a dark, brooding, multi-layered read. I guess looking again at the cover the peep hole eyes drawn in black cleverly gave a clue. The book is about a family living in a community ridden with crime, drugs, and killings, and it is essentially about a family raising twin boys, two very different individuals who nevertheless have a strong bond, and the choices they are forced to make. As the mother of a child with learning difficulties the character of Paul especially resonated with me, and the societal restrictions he was judged against. A heart-wrenching read that I thoroughly recommend.”
About the author
Claire Adam was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago. She was educated in the US and now lives in London with her husband and two children. Golden Child is her first novel.
A word from Claire
“I’m so pleased that Golden Child has been picked for the Book Club! I think book clubs are such a wonderful way of bringing people together – they create an opportunity to take a breather from politics and Brexit-divisions (I write this in January 2019) and all other forms of bad news, and to just chat with other real, live human beings about a story you’ve read. Even if you haven’t read the story, just listening to a discussion about a book can give you so much food for thought. I think Golden Child offers plenty for book clubs to get their teeth into: we can talk about family, about fatherhood, about masculinity, sibling rivalry, adolescence, sacrifice, hard choices, moral dilemmas…There’s plenty here to be dissected and argued over.
Thank you so much to all the librarians and The Reading Agency who’ve read and recommended my book. Librarians have pushed many a book into my hands over the years, and it’s such a privilege to be able to repay the debt in a small way, by adding Golden Child to the shelves of these wonderful and life-changing and constantly-threatened-but-as-yet-surviving treasure troves which are our libraries."
Tune in to Jo Whiley’s show on Monday 21 January to hear a live interview with Claire.
Planning to buy Golden Child for your group? Buy from Hive and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.