A visionary masterpiece filled with green children, quicksand portals, imaginary countries, revolutionary dictators, and subterranean worlds
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 myth 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 the kidnapper forces the girl to drink lamb’s blood from a cup. Olivero rescues the child, and she leads him into unknown realms.
About the Author
Sir Herbert Edward Read, (1893–1968) was an English anarchist poet, and critic of literature and art. He was one of the earliest English writers to take notice of existentialism, and was strongly influenced by proto-existentialist thinker Max Stirner.
Eliot Weinberger is an essayist, editor, and translator. He lives in New York City.
The Green Child is a mesmerizing novel that resists categorization and simplification.
— Lincoln Michel, Tin House
The Green Child has narrative and stylistic lucidity as startling as some of its fantasy.
— The New Yorker
If you want to imagine what it would be like to exist beyond desire, beyond loneliness, and even beyond identity, The Green Child is the book to read.
— The Washington Post
The Green Child conveys a private sense of glory. The same type of glory that impelled Christian writers to picture the city of God.
— Graham Greene