The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead
A Novel

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To read “The Man Who Loved Children” would be an especially frivolous use of your time, since, even by novelistic standards, it’s about nothing of world-historical consequence.
-NY Times

Synopsis

“This crazy, gorgeous family novel is one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century. I carry it in my head the way I carry childhood memories; the scenes are of such precise horror and comedy that I feel I didn’t read the book so much as live it.” —Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom

The Man Who Loved Children
is a brutally honest examination of domestic life and family. Sam and Henny Pollit have too much—too much contempt for one another, too many children, too much strain under endless obligation. Flush with ego and a chilling domestic power, Sam torments his children, bending and manipulating their seemingly limitless love to his overbearing advantage, while Henny looks on desperately,  all too aware of the madness at its root. A favorite novel of Jonathan Franzen and Randall Jarrell, among many others, The Man Who Loved Children stands as Christina Stead’s masterwork.
 

About Christina Stead

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Author Christina Stead was born in Rockdale, New South Wales, Australia on July 17, 1902. She left Australia in 1928 and spent time in Europe, England, and the United States before permanently returning in 1974. She wrote fifteen novels and numerous volumes of short stories. She is best known for her novel, The Man Who Loved Children, which was based on her childhood. Her novels were unpublished in Australia until 1965 and she was denied the Britannica-Australia award in 1967 on the grounds that she was no longer considered an Australian. In 1974, she won the Patrick White award. While living in the United States during the 1940s, she worked as a Hollywood scriptwriter and contributed to Madame Curie and They Were Expendable. She died on March 31, 1983.
 
Published October 23, 2012 by Open Road Media. 578 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Business & Economics, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Man Who Loved Children
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jonathan Franzen on Jun 03 2010

To read “The Man Who Loved Children” would be an especially frivolous use of your time, since, even by novelistic standards, it’s about nothing of world-historical consequence.

Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Children: A... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by STEPHANIE CROSS on May 07 2011

What marks Stead's novel out is the intensity of her savage, visceral depiction of family life; her knowledge of its enchantments and its confounding elasticity.

Read Full Review of The Man Who Loved Children: A... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Jane Smiley on Jun 09 2006

I would teach it along with some Greek tragedies or maybe a Russian novel or two written about Josef Stalin.

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Reader Rating for The Man Who Loved Children
57%

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