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When I picked up Little Boy Lost I offered it the tenderly indulgent regard I would any period piece, wrote Nicholas Lezard in the Guardian. As it turned out, the book survives perfectly well on its own merits although it nearly finished me. If you like a novel that expertly puts you through the wringer, this is the one. Hilary Wainwright, poet and intellectual, returns after the war to a blasted and impoverished France in order to trace a child lost five years before. The novel asks: is the child really his? And does he want him? These are questions you can take to be as metaphorical as you wish: the novel works perfectly well as straight narrative. Its extraordinarily gripping: it has the page-turning compulsion of a thriller while at the same time being written with perfect clarity and precision. Had it not got so nerve-wracking towards the end, I would have read it in one go. But Laskis understated assurance and grip is almost astonishing. She has got a certain kind of British intellectual down to a tee: part of the books nail-biting tension comes from our fear that Hilary wont do something stupid. The rest of Little Boy Losts power comes from the depiction of post-war France herself. This is haunting stuff.

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