“It was a mistake to expect anything from anyone; to behave as if anyone owed him anything; the truth of the matter is that anyone-friend, family, anyone- can betray you at any time, and you must be permanently on your guard.”
I received an advanced reader copy of Claire Adam’s “Golden Child” from the amazing people over at HogarthBooks. “Golden Child” will be on sale in January 2019 and I definitely recommend you grabbing a copy of this amazing novel.
Set in Trinidad and Tobago in what I am assuming is the 1980s we meet the Delasingh family- father Clyde, mother Joy and their twin sons Paul and Peter. The family lives in the rural part of Trinidad and Tobago in a home that’s been in the family for generations. The father Clyde is a humble yet proud man who is trying his very best to provide for his family even in difficult circumstances. Things got a bit difficult after the birth of their twin. While Peter was delivered without complications, Paul suffered lack of oxygen along with other complications. His difficult birth will be a foreshadowing of his life. Peter is deemed a genius by his family and teachers while Paul is labelled as “not normal”.
A typical Trinidadian Family from that time, the father works at a petroleum plant and the mother stays home to help with the children. Joy’s family members help where they can with the finances, Clyde who is not accustomed to taking handouts from anyone is forced to do so because of his sons. Even in scarcity their sons thrive, passing for a prestigious school in the city which means they must travel to the capital daily. Additional stress is placed on the family to ensure the boys gets the best education possible.
One evening Paul goes walking into the bush but does not come home. Joy and Peter are worried about what might happen to him. Clyde goes in search of his missing son who he had a terrible fight with some days before. While searching for his son Clyde thinks of all the possible reasons for his disappearance but nothing comes close to why he is actually missing.
I finished this book two days ago and I am still being haunted by what took place. This book pulls you in from the very first chapter. Adam pulls the strings so tight in this book, the tension and build-up is palatable, some moments I actually had to remind myself to breathe. What I loved most was how imperfect and authentic the characters were. It is not every day we meet a character that gets under your skin and stays there. For me, Clyde was that character I wanted to cheer for and scream at. However, it is hard to be upset with someone who must make a decision where no one wins.
Claire Adam’s writing is enthralling and beautiful, she clearly captures a character’s flaws and knows how to keep the tension running throughout an entire book. As a Jamaican living in Trinidad and Tobago for the last four years, I can say, with my limited knowledge that Adam perfectly captures the culture and social nuisances of this country.
Golden Child is a deeply moving story about family, love, betrayal and resilience. I cannot wait for everyone to read this because I know this will be a major hit for 2019.