Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor

The children of Dynmouth was first published in 1976 and was short-listed for the booker prize. If I was to sum up this book in one word it would be 'Sinister'.

The novel follows an awkward teenager Timothy Gedge around Dynmouth; a typical English seaside town. Timothy has convinced himself he is destined to become a famous comedian and in order to do so he should start by performing in his local Easter talent show. As he proceeds with his plans Timothy is confronted by obstacles that threaten to derail his dream. In response to these setbacks he becomes more and more delusional and sinister to the point of being evil. He terrorises numerous residents of the town and does his best to hurt people and mess up their lives.

This is just the kind of book I love and I enjoyed reading it immensely. A community is striped bare as Timothy does his rounds, peaking into peoples windows, threatening young children with just a few words and a smile and blackmailing adults. The tension builds up throughout the book (which is less than 200 pages) to its conclusion where the community of adults are forced to ask themselves; did we create this monster?

The novel deals with plenty of other issues such as the effect on society when children are forced to bring themselves up with absent parents and the obsession with becoming a celebrity. These issues give the book depth and I found myself speculating on them, the book even hints that perhaps there is a place for people like Timothy in this world.

I loved this book (and not just for the pretty cover) a dark and chilling tale which will make you think.

Verdict 5/5

Posted by Jess


  1. Sounds wonderful...and I love how such a dark book has a cover with flowers all over it. :)

  2. This sounds great! You had me at 'sinister.'

  3. I've never read William Trevor though I've known of him for some time now. This one sounds very good. I think I'll look for it.

  4. Zara - its a funky cover right? Its part of a special edition and was designed by a designer from the 70s.

    Kathy - haha I think it would have got me from there as well, I love these sorts of books.

    C B James - From what Ive read about William Trevor, The Children of Dynmouth is considered one of his best works so this one would be a good place to start if you ever come across a copy.

  5. This sounds really interesting! I saw it at the Waterstones a couple of weeks ago but I'd never heard of it. I'll definitely put it on my list now.

  6. This sounds like a beautiful book. I remember reading a William Trevor short story some time ago and really enjoying his writing. Sadly, it's been so long that I can't remember which story it was.

  7. Sounds intriguing, I shall add it to my library list, thanks for the recommendation.

  8. Mrs B - thats right, its part of the penguin celebration decades so they have been selling them in Waterstones. I purchase all of the 70s books and this was the first one I picked up.

    Nymeth - its certainly food for thought this book, I will read this author again although Ive heard he specilises in lone people in society.

    Petty - I hope if you do pick it up you have better luck with it!

  9. I love your description of this book! I haven't heard of it but perhaps I should stick my head into Waterstones... dangerous!

  10. Hi fom Barcelona! You have a great blog. William Trevor is one of my favourites, it is amazing what he does with his characters' voices. A real master. I just finished The Children of Dynmouth and was, again mesmerised. Please, read The Story of Lucy Gault, Felicia's Journey, Death in Summer, or any of his short stories. I do not understand how he is not more celebrated among the British writers. But I suppose we will have to wait until he dies so he gets all the praise he utterly deserves, which is really a pity