The Child That Books Built


Book Review by Willard Manus

THE CHILD THAT BOOKS BUILT by Francis Spufford (Picador) delves into the link between literature and character. By trying to understand the memorable books he read as a child and describe how they affected his thinking and development, Spufford has put together an unusual memoir, one that reminds us of the powerful effect books can have on imagination. Far from being just a diversion, an entertainment, books (the author believes) can be the most important force in our lives, "part of the history of our self-understanding." At the same time, Spufford also learns that literature can not save us from life (or death).