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Golden Child by Claire Adam
Literary fiction

Golden Child


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Claire Adam, on your first book!

by Claire Adam

Quick take

A tale of two Caribbean twins—one a source of family pride, the other of shame—and the small betrayals that will alter their lives forever.

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Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, 13 years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.

When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn't come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul's fate, his world shatters—leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Golden Child.

Why I love it

The moment I read the first page of Claire Adam’s astonishing debut, it was obvious to me that I was experiencing a truly gifted writer telling a story about a place intimately known to her. By the last, utterly heartbreaking page, I knew I needed to share this book with as many people as possible. Golden Child is an emotional and page-turning story of scarcity, sacrifice, and betrayal set against the beautiful but precarious backdrop of rural Trinidad.

As the head of a family surviving and struggling to succeed against powerful odds, Clyde Deyalsingh is a father determined to raise his teenage sons well. But his twins could not be more different: Peter is a promising boy with a bright future ahead of him, and Paul is somewhat slow and strange. When one of the sons is kidnapped after a break-in, Clyde finds himself overwhelmed by forces terribly beyond his control, and he’s faced with choices no parent should ever have to make.

With unerring insight, Claire accesses the deepest fears and pains of having, and belonging to, a family; of all the unspoken dread a parent carries and negotiates with. In the same way that the Trinidadian landscape is simultaneously lovely and treacherous, Golden Child is a book that is at once gorgeous and unsettling, achieving the kind of breathless emotional resonance that we treasure in our most beloved stories.

Claire brings a singular familiarity and affection for Trinidad and its people to this remarkable debut. She has given us an unforgettable story, and I am honored to be able to share it with you.

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Member ratings (2,358)

  • Lucy A.

    Ayer, MA

    Wow. One of the most thought provoking and powerful books I’ve ever read. I couldn’t stop thinking about this. The whole book was good, but average. And then the ending hit you like a ton of bricks.

  • Melissa P.

    Rochester, MN

    I didn’t like it because it was hard to read. But I loved it because it was hard to read. Having to choose one child? Knowing that you can only push one forward? It’s not uncommon. So heartbreaking.

  • Abby M.

    Fargo, ND

    When I read the synopsis, I knew I had to read this story. It’s a bitter pill to swallow that not everyone is as fortunate in the world as us, but it made me grateful for where I am. Beautifully told!

  • Makhimba S.

    Brooklyn, NY

    I was born and raised in Trinidad. The authors portrayal of the setting and culture was amazing, down to the dog’s names. Aside from that this story is deeply unsettling and made me question humanity

  • Kayla K.

    San Francisco, CA

    This book was unlike anything I've read before. I loved the author's voice. Clyde's character was so intruiging & the whole thing was gut-wrenching. I'll be thinking about this one for a long time.