Skip to content

The Green Child

by Herbert Read

cover image for

The Green Child has narrative and stylistic lucidity as startling as some of its fantasy.

The New Yorker

A visionary masterpiece filled with quicksand portals, revolutionary dictators, and subterranean worlds


The Green Child

Fiction by Herbert Read

translated by Adam Phillips

The Green Child is the only novel by Herbert Read — the famous English poet, anarchist, and literary critic. First published by New Directions in 1948, it remains a singular work of bewildering imagination and radiance. The author
considered it a philosophical fable akin to Plato’s cave. 

Olivero, the former dictator of a South American country, has returned to his native England after faking his own assassination. On a walk he sees, through a cottage window, a green-skinned young girl tied to a chair. He watches in horror as a man forces the girl to drink lamb’s blood from a cup. Olivero rescues the child, and she leads him into unknown realms.

published October 16th, 2013