THE STOLEN CHILD by Paul Cody

THE STOLEN CHILD

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A first-novelist's biting, pitiless penetration of a nightmare: the 1963 abduction, drugging, and mental crippling of a nine-year-old boy as seen through the eyes of a variety of witnesses and those it touches--and has touched--indirectly over three decades. In the present, we hear the grating, pulsing ruminations of the institutionalized 30-ish man the abducted boy has become. ``He disappeared on a Friday afternoon in October,'' and now in the drifting, fractured mind of ``Ford'' (he goes by several names), visions recur of the yellow October leaves falling in his Boston suburb, of his babyhood, and of a little brother. Throughout his recitals, a ``Big Man''--he guesses it's his father--will open the car door again and again, the boy will smell ``beer and urine and gasoline,'' then remember light and dark and light again in Ohio or Missouri or Arizona. Other memories are contributed by his mother, who's exhausted by suffering; his brother, who will never have children; a teacher; a policeman; a waitress in Maine who served a man accompanied by a fevered, silent boy on a winter's night (``How would I know and what if I called?''); a doctor who sent the obviously abused child ``home'' (``All I could think about was going home [to] my own bed,'' the physician recalls shamefacedly); and those on the road and in prison who made brief, sometimes close, contact with Ford during his odyssey. Meanwhile, sounding loud and despairing and angry are the booze-soaked voices of the two faces of the Big Man--hapless, damned. Wary, fearful voices also sound from Everyman-and- woman, strangers all but snagged on the terrifying thought: Could it happen to mine? The variation of voices and diction gives the novel movement and pace. Certainly a riveting subject. And newcomer Cody insistently brings horror and loss thudding home. A raw, moving tale--and a parents' chiller.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1995
ISBN: 1-880909-30-8
Page count: 234pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1995




MORE BY PAUL CODY

FictionSHOOTING THE HEART by Paul Cody
by Paul Cody
FictionSO FAR GONE by Paul Cody
by Paul Cody
FictionEYES LIKE MINE by Paul Cody
by Paul Cody

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieSPEAKING TRUTHS by Dayna Hester
by Dayna Hester