Beautiful Children by Charles Bock
A Novel

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 6 Critic Reviews



The New York Times bestseller by the author of the forthcoming novel Alice & Oliver | Winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters | A New York Times Notable Book
“One word: bravo.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Truly powerful . . . Beautiful Children dazzles its readers on almost every page. . . . [Charles Bock] knows how to tug at your heart, and he knows how to make you laugh out loud, often on the same page, sometimes in the same sentence.”—Newsweek

One Saturday night in Las Vegas, twelve-year-old Newell Ewing goes out with a friend and doesn’t come home. In the aftermath of his disappearance, his mother, Lorraine, makes daily pilgrimages to her son’s room and tortures herself with memories. Equally distraught, the boy’s father, Lincoln, finds himself wanting to comfort his wife even as he yearns for solace, a loving touch, any kind of intimacy.

As the Ewings navigate the mystery of what’s become of their son, the circumstances surrounding Newell’s vanishing and other events on that same night reverberate through the lives of seemingly disconnected strangers: a comic book illustrator in town for a weekend of debauchery; a painfully shy and possibly disturbed young artist; a stripper who imagines moments from her life as if they were movie scenes; a bubbly teenage wiccan anarchist; a dangerous and scheming gutter punk; a band of misfit runaways. The people of Beautiful Children are “urban nomads,” each with a past to hide and a pain to nurture, every one of them searching for salvation and barreling toward destruction, weaving their way through a neon underworld of sex, drugs, and the spinning wheels of chance.

In this masterly debut novel, Charles Bock mixes incandescent prose with devious humor to capture Las Vegas with unprecedented scope and nuance and to provide a glimpse into a microcosm of modern America. Beautiful Children is an odyssey of heartache and redemption heralding the arrival of a major new writer.

Praise for Beautiful Children
“Exceptional . . . This novel deserves to be read more than once because of the extraordinary importance of its subject matter.”—The Washington Post Book World
“Magnificent . . . a hugely ambitious novel that succeeds . . . Beautiful Children manages to feel completely of its moment while remaining unaffected by literary trends. . . . Charles Bock is the real thing.”—The New Republic
“A wildly satisfying and disturbing literary journey, led by an author of blazing talent.”—The Dallas Morning News
“Wholly original—dirty, fast, and hypnotic. The sentences flicker and skip and whirl.”—Esquire
“An anxious, angry, honest first novel filled with compassion and clarity . . . The language has a rhythm wholly its own—at moments it is stunning, near genius.”—A. M. Homes
“From start to finish, Bock never stops tantalizing the reader.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Rich and compelling . . . captures the hallucinogenic setting like a fever dream.”—Los Angeles Times

From the Hardcover edition.

About Charles Bock

See more books from this Author
Charles Bock was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has an MFA from Bennington College and has received fellowships from Yaddo, UCross, and the Vermont Studio Center. He lives in New York City. Visit the author’s website at the Hardcover edition.
Published January 22, 2008 by Random House. 432 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beautiful Children

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Charles Bock's ambitious debut novel set in Las Vegas purports to see something new in the woozy, wasted lives of its principals.

Feb 07 2008 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Children: A Novel

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

Charles Bock’s first novel brings together the intersecting lives of parents and adolescents, strippers and pornographers, runaways and addicts — all against the neon-lit, heat-parched backdrop of Las Vegas.

Feb 03 2008 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Children: A Novel

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

Carter's Days of Love and Blood by Leslie Wright Blogcritics Contact Blogcritics Advertising About Blogcritics RSS feeds All RSS Feeds (240+) All BC Articles All BC...

Feb 19 2008 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Children: A Novel

AV Club

See more reviews from this publication

In Charles Bock's debut novel, Beautiful Children, Las Vegas is a point of arrival for runaways, hustlers, addicts, would-be porn stars, strippers, comic-book artists, and regular tax-paying hotel employees trying to raise a family.

Jan 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Children: A Novel

USA Today

Refreshingly, Bock doesn't, as is so common now, tell a sprawling tale over multiple story lines that neatly intertwine in the end.

| Read Full Review of Beautiful Children: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

… In Beautiful Children, Bock’s vision and voice create a fictional landscape as corruptly compelling as Vegas, and as beautiful as the illusions its characters cling to for survival—illustrating what he calls ‘the nobility inherent in struggles that cannot be won.’" Liesl Schillinger Washington...

Apr 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Beautiful Children: A Novel

Reader Rating for Beautiful Children

An aggregated and normalized score based on 63 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review