"When I picked up this 1949 reprint I offered it the tenderly indulgent regard I would any period piece. As it turned out, the book survives perfectly well on its own merit--although it nearly finished me. If you like a novel that expertly puts you through the wringer, this is the one."--Nicholas Lezard, "Guardian"
Hilary Wainwright, an English soldier, returns to a blasted and impoverished France during World War Two in order to trace a child lost five years before. But is this small, quiet boy in a grim orphanage really his son? And what if he is not? In this exquisitely crafted novel, we follow Hilary's struggle to love in the midst of a devastating war.
"Facing him was a thin little boy in a black sateen overall. Its sleeves were too short and from them dangled red swollen hands too big for the frail wrists. Hilary looked from these painful hands to the little boy's long thin grubby legs, to the crude coarse socks falling over shabby black boots that were surely several sizes too large. It's a foreign child, he thought numbly . . ."
Marghanita Laski was born in 1915 to a family of Jewish intellectuals in Manchester; Harold Laski, the socialist thinker, was her uncle. She was the author of six novels and a celebrated critic. She died in 1988.