'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. It's 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 Laski's understated assurance and grip is almost astonishing. She has got a certain kind of British intellectual down to a tee: part of the book's nail-biting tension comes from our fear that Hilary won't do something stupid. The rest of Little Boy Lost's power comes from the depiction of post-war France herself. This is haunting stuff.' 'When I picked up this 1949 reprint 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.
About the Author
Marghanita Laski was born in 1915 to a family of Jewish intellectuals in Manchester; Harold Laski, the socialist thinker, was her uncle. She is the author of six novels and a celebrated critic. She wrote books on Jane Austen and George Eliot and two books on the nature of ecstasy. She died in 1988. Anne Sebba is a biographer, journalist and former Reuters foreign correspondent. She is the author of American Jennie: the Remarkable Life of Winston Churchill's Mother, published by Norton in 2007.