Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Railway Children

I bought The Railway Children at the National Railway Museum, where we saw a stage adaptation of the novel. I first discovered E. Nesbit through her ghost stories, which I loved, and I wanted to know more about her and read what is maybe her most famous work. It's a classic of children literature which I never knew or heard about as a child. I actually never heard of it until I was well into adult age. Which is almost surprising, given that I love everything train related. I guess I am not that educated about all the classics of English literature. I am about to finish it. Because I saw the play, I think I can already recommend it. It has been one of my November reads and it helped get through a dreary month. It is a delightful little book, a very English one, with tea time, English countryside and of course featuring a railway at a time when trains were the nation's technological and transport pride. It is told through children's perspective full of innocence, but not quite an idyllic one. The universe depicted by Nesbit is not devoid of dangers, sadness and sometimes even tragedy (although it is averted in extremis). Since it was first published as a serials in a magazine, it is a very episodic novel, most chapters having self-contained stories. Unlike its most famour movie adaptation and the stage version I saw, where Yorkshire is mentioned as the setting, the novel is set in an unspecified part of rural England. But reading it, it's always Yorkshire that comes to my mind. So anyway, I strongly recommend it.


Nellie said...

Now I must add this book to my list! We've a daughter who was in West Yorkshire for the first semester of her senior year in college! I also think of James Herriott (not his real name) when I hear of Yorkshire.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I read this when I was a kid because I'm so old that my childhood predates the boom in American children's literature that started to happen in the 70s and 80s (by my own calculation). Before then, the Brits had the corner on children's literature and we had a ton of it at our local library.