... Golden Child soon reveals itself as high-end literature. It has elements of a thriller, but remains rooted in imaginative and moral territory, with the tragic arc of an Arthur Miller play ... Golden Child has more in common with JM Coetzee’s Disgrace, not only in its harrowing depiction of a father’s limitations, but also in its sense of rural life as a war of attrition. Unlike Coetzee, Adam’s writing doesn’t feel pessimistic or depressing. She writes with a dark, impacted intelligence. As soon as the book ends, you want to go back and pick out the lurking dangers and treacheries. This is a quiet explosion of a novel from a bright new voice in fiction.
... a moving study of her native Trinidad ... Adam’s writing is luxuriant, evoking the atmospheric island setting and the complicated, worried lives lived under a near-constant sense of impending violence. Family squabbles over money turn menacing in part three, as Clyde faces a series of terrible decisions that spool out like a crime thriller. Heartbreaking and lovely, this is an important work by a promising new voice.
Though much time is devoted to the psychology of his brother and father, the novel dips only briefly into the mind of Peter, the golden child. I wish the son after whom the book is named had been afforded a few more pages, but in those that we are given, Adam is subtle and delicate in her portrayal of the unique stresses of being the favourite child and the one on whom the future rests. Overall, this book manages to combine two things rarely bound together in the same spine: a sensitive depiction of family life and the page-flicking urgency of a thriller.
Adam was born in Trinidad and has a razor-sharp understanding of its society ... Adam allows us to share in Joy’s resignation when the water pressure in the tiny house goes out, to know what it feels like to slosh through a monsoon and to imagine food that ranges from traditional rotis, curries and melongene choka to packets of Chee Zees ... Golden Child is one of those uncommon debut novels that makes you eager to see what its author does next.
Golden Child is a beautifully written debut novel ... Life in Trinidad is brilliantly depicted ... By giving so many perspectives, however, Adam dilutes the power of her story ... The boy’s voice is wonderfully alive with all the insecurities piled on him by his family since birth, however, his heroism and plight are cut away too abruptly, denying both reader and character a proper end. The worst of the criticism though is to lament the fact that the book is not longer. Mostly, it shines, from the dialogue full of island cadence... to the observations peppered throughout the book ... It is a fine start to a writing career of an author who shows signs of having the Midas touch herself.
Claire Adam's debut novel, Golden Child, is a page-turner not by dint of cliffhangers but because a reader becomes invested in the well-developed story and richly drawn characters, heightened by a baseline tension established in the first pages. Adam creates a strong sense of place to fully transport a reader to the sights, smells and sounds of rural Trinidad ... Golden Child is a beautiful and haunting tale, one that leaves readers thinking long after the last page has been turned.
Golden Child isn’t thick with... rich socio-political detail ... But with a spare, evocative style, Adam... evokes the island’s complexity during the mid-'80s, when the novel is mostly set ... Golden Child mostly operates on an emotional plane ... The island Adam describes is indeed a challenging, often brutal place. But her novel also suggests we be alert to how of many of those challenges we conjure up ourselves.
One can see the narrative gears turning very early, and as a result Clyde's decision isn't harrowing; by the time its necessary consequences unfold, a reader might be less moved than Adam hopes. It doesn't help that many of the characters are sketchily drawn at best ... In the absence of any emotional stakes, the last third of the novel unfolds like a generic thriller. That's unfortunate, as Adam has otherwise written an incisive and loving portrait of contemporary Trinidad ... A fascinating novel that fails to stick its landing.
... excellent ... Throughout this stunning portrait of Trinidad’s multicultural diversity, and one family’s sacrifices, soaring hopes and ultimate despair, Adam weaves a poetic lightness and beauty that will transfix readers.