The Claude Glass, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Set in the Welsh Borders in 1980, "The Claude Glass" charts an unlikely friendship between two neighbours: Robin, the seven year old son of English hippie sheep farmers, and Andrew, a child so neglected by his impoverished parents that he is left almost mute, seeking solace among the farm dogs.

Exploring his parents' semi-derelict farmhouse, Andrew finds an antique convex mirror - a Claude Glass - and, gazing into it, the two boys see their wild, rural landscape strangely ordered.

But this comforting vision proves fragile as tensions and sexual jealousy rock the adult world around them.

Written with a lyricism and freshness that echoes the work of Bruce Chatwin and Esther Freud, "The Claude Glass" draws you into the lives of its startling characters and their tarnished romance with nature.


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A truly poetic work, gently uncovering new internal perspectives and relationships from within its tight focus on a small group of adults and children farming in the Welsh borders.The external canvas may be grand and wide as the horizons but the narrative focus is somewhat restrictive and largely passes by wider historical and societal concerns. More of an extended short story than a novel, the joy of TCG is that it could be a story of almost any time in the modern era and still true to its narrative.  The landscape, passing of seasons and general atmosphere created leave a long lasting impression.  TCG is less of a classic, but arguably an easier and more enjoyable a read than Chatwin's On The Black Hill, which is set in the same environment but in a harsher time. 

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