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Childsong tells the story of a group of first-year students at a small liberal-arts college in the Midwest who all eventually self-destruct because of their selfish, Me-Generation attitude. Hypocrisy, rampant hedonism, jealousy, and even total despair provide the stark psychological framework in which events unfold. Some survive better than others, while only one can finally rise above his egotism through poetry to find redemption in hope and compassion.
This novel explores the troubled territory of adolescence and early adulthood.
Reviews in Brief
“Inside the plain, grey, nondescript cover of Childsong is a work of literary genius…. Once you become engrossed in the story, and you will, you will not put this book down.”
— Reader Views
“Childsong is a well-written coming-of-age novel with a deft criticism of the current generation, a top pick for any community-library fiction collections.”
— Midwest Book Review
“For readers who love the art of words and who can relate to the disappointments and struggles of adolescence and early adulthood, it is a gem.”
— Minnesota Literature
“This is a novel for those who like fiction to provide rich food for both thought and feeling. The writing is finely crafted, the narrative technique complex and experimental, and there is acute psychological exposure of the characters’ vulnerabilities. I recommend it as a subtle piece of work.”
— Kritikos, an anonymous British reviewer
“What makes this read appealing (to this reader) is its hopefulness and its elevation of the arts. Childsong raises poetry to the high ground of recovery and self-actualization: one young man, the hero, comes to compassion by way of art, while the egotistical, the mean and the defeated fall away. Childsong also wants to celebrate the joyous and the exuberant—what is authentic and good in the childlike.”
— Elana Wolff, poet and essayist
“Thor Polson has an original voice, and the angst channeled through these characters feels very real. It feels like a hidden gem, the kind of book recommended by the smart friend of a smart friend at a stupid party that makes the night worthwhile. It’s the kind of book you wait a year to get to and then feel remorse that you lived the interval without the benefit of its world view. I really enjoyed Childsong.”
— Ben Warner, author
“Childsong stirs the emotions, and Polson creates a story line that makes you angry, sympathetic, empathetic and sad all at the same time. This is a creative book—to say the least—and one that will require your full attention.”
— Rebecca’s Reads
“One of those rare books that will change the way you think.”
— Book Reporter: Word of Mouth
“The author is in full command of language throughout, from the dialogue to the poetic descriptions to the poetry itself. While exploring the nature of post-adolescence, he is celebrating the power and joy of the word.”
— Scott Richardson, professor of classics