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The Green Child

by Herbert Read

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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
with a contribution by Eliot Weinberger and Kenneth Rexroth

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