Monday, 7 December 2009

The love-child (Olivier) 46

I came across The love child through one of the students at the college where I work; he requested that a copy be bought for the library, and I had a sneaky look at it before I passed it over.

This is a delightful tale, albeit with a slightly surreal edge. We meet Agatha Bodenham, aged 32, shortly after her mother has died. On her own now for the first time in her life, she lacks friends or other acquaintances, and resurrects her childhood imaginery friend Clarissa. At first Clarissa exists solely in Agatha's imagination, but soon "others too can see her" and she becomes a very real person in Agatha's life. Asked by a policeman to fill in a form to file for adoption, she explains that Clarissa is a love-child; the policeman understands this to mean that Clarissa was an illegitimate child, but the reader knows that Clarissa exists through Agatha's love.

As Clarissa grows up it is difficult for her relationship with Agatha to remain the same. Agatha is powerless to control Clarissa, although she continues to attempt to protect the girl and this leads to a sad ending.

Definitely a VMC to read, especially as it is very short (200p with spaced out type!). I think it is a shame that it has only been published once.


  1. I love the sound of this - I used to have an imaginary horse when I was growing up, and time and again, I still think fondly of Comanche...

    Plus, I like surrealism.

  2. This is definitely one of my favourite VMCs. I have a copy but I hope somebody will reissue it again one day. I can think of several lists it would slot into nicely.

  3. Another cookie - I thought thiswas a very interesting read indeed, and the surreal elements were done well.

    Jane - me too!

  4. Ah, yet another VMC to add to the want list! It does sound delightful.

  5. Claire - at least it won't take you too long to read once you do come across it!

  6. This is one of my favourite VMCs - perhaps my favourite - and I'm delighted that you liked it too. I've read it three or four times already, and I'm sure I'll read it many more.