The Stone Boy
Paperback: 384 pages
27 Feb, 2014
Critically acclaimed French author, Sophie Loubiere, has with her fifth novel, The Stone Boy, crafted a work of such magisterial elegance, depth, emotion and intrigue it almost defies logic.
When the elderly Madame Préau returns to her own house after several years spent in a convalescent home, she immediately notices that the neighbourhood has changed. A new family has moved in next door and, from her window, she watches their three children playing in the garden after school. Two of the children seem perfectly healthy, but Madame Préau is struck by the third child, who seems listless and stands apart from the others. When she reports this to social services, they refuse to believe her. Cut off some years ago from her own grandson, she begins a mission to help this boy, even when those around her start to fear for her sanity.
At risk of sounding somewhat clichéd, The Stone Boy – with its intense atmosphere, relentless pace, beautifully constructed prose and deeply compelling plot – is somewhat more than a novel that can be forgotten once the final page is completed.
Indeed so compelling is it, the final denouement not only comes as a shock but will also remain with the reader long afterwards. In Madame Preau, Sophie Loubiere has crafted one of the major protagonists of recent years and it can only be hoped that the author has similar gems tucked away somewhere.
A novel of sheer beauty, The Stone Boy has to be marked down as one the novels of the year even at this early stage.