Emma Tennant

The Beautiful Child

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Part detective story, part analysis of a writer's urge to place real people in his fiction, this is a Christmas fireside tale that examines the horrors of The Turn of the Screw while revealing those of today. We read Henry James's unfinished tale, The Beautiful Child, with its chilling depiction of cruelty and neglect, which he abandoned in 1902. And we learn about the terrifying scandal behind James's inability to proceed with his story of a couple who beseech a fashionable artist to paint the child they never had – a scandal involving the alcoholic Mr and Mrs Smith who had served James for many years. Will the chief guest at a house party, an English professor, solve the mystery of the hauntings at James's home, Lamb House, in Rye? This book fills out the unfinished story and ends on a note of terror that would surely have been appreciated by the master himself.
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116 printed pages
Original publication
2013

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