The Festival Book Club

Christopher Hart

This year we’ll be hosting a ‘Book Club’ event, when the author Christopher Hart will be discussing his book Lost Children This will take place on Thursday 10th October 2019, at 2.30pm. This gives us a chance to engage with the author, when he will discuss his book, why he chose to write it, and the ethical questions that it provokes.

We hope you will want to read this book, either as an individual or perhaps as part of a Book Club you belong to.

Lost Children by Christopher Hart

Christopher Hart work has included being Sunday Times theatre critic and book reviewer, regular comment pieces for the Daily Mail, travel writer for The Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Guardian, travel copywriter (brochures) for Swan Hellenic Cruises, novelist both as Christopher Hart and William Napier, literary and historical fiction, including The Harvest (Faber) and the bestselling Attila Trilogy, translated into over twenty languages, and his new novel Lost Children, set in Central America.

The novel has been reviewed as – a thrilling, haunting and deeply moving ‘tour-de-force’, Lost Chidren is an unforgettable story of privilege and poverty, First World and Third, ideals and realities – and the longing of the lost child for a family ………….  ‘Good Reads’

Four English medical students (upper-class Bridge with his yellow corduroy suit, Lucy with her ukulele, dim but right-on psychotherapist Caitlin and decent, troubled Nicholas) volunteer for a stint in a beautiful but dirt-poor Central American country. They are all keen to do good, but hopelessly out of their depth in a society where kitschy, cocaine-funded McMansions spring up where there used to be tropical forest, and policemen’s heads turn up at the bus station in plastic bags. Nicholas becomes traumatically involved with the nightmare misfortunes of his sincere and genuinely lovable host family after they are evicted by soldiers, while a kindly but cynical local doctor has some memorable lines. Above and behind everything is the suave …           The Sunday Times, 9th September 2018.

Better known for historical novels written as William Napier, here Hart tackles a contemporary subject — the idealism of youth and how it can evaporate. Four young medical students are in Central America, desperate to do good. The unnamed country (Guatemala?) is in the grip of drug wars, with street gangs and armed militias everywhere.

The most idealistic of the four, Nicholas, lodges with a poor family and is transformed by the experience, especially his relationship with a little girl, Lala. Conditions worsen and Nicholas’s companions all decide to return home, but he refuses.

Then Lala goes missing. Nicholas sets out to find her and purge his own bad childhood memories. Told with emotional intensity, it moves you to tears.    Review in The Daily Mail, 28th October 2018.

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