The Stolen Child

Paul Cody, Author Baskerville Publishers $20 (233p) ISBN 978-1-880909-30-0
In an attempt to explore child molestation from every possible angle, this ambitious but flawed first novel probes the disappearance in 1963 of a nine-year-old boy from Newton, Mass. Cody reveals cycles of emotional dysfunction--both within families and throughout society--from a variety of perspectives by employing vignettes, hallucinations, fragmentary monologues and the present-day recollections of people affected--some rather remotely--by the case. They include a waitress in Maine who served dinner to the boy and his kidnapper; the boy's mother and brother, as well as his alcoholic father, already institutionalized and estranged from the family before the abduction; a doctor in the Midwest who treated the boy's wounds; the policeman who investigated the case; and the boy's teacher. Others involved include later male and female lovers of the boy; a young male prostitute he once hired; a prison inmate; the boy's troubled abductor; and, through a haze of sedation, the troubled man the boy has become. A desultory narrative structure blunts the emotional impact, and too many of the voices sound alike. But to his credit, Cody avoids sensationalism, chronicling the disturbing events with candor and insight. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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