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Christina Stead's "The Man Who Loved Children"

About this Book

Celebrated by writers including Jonathan Franzen, who said that "[t]his crazy, gorgeous family novel is one of the great literary achievements of the twentieth century," The Man Who Loved Children is a 1940 novel by Australian writer Christina Stead. The harrowing portrait of a dysfunctional family, the novel focuses on the relationship between the father, Sam, a tyrannical crank far removed from the civilized man he thinks himself to be, his bitter wife, Henny, and their six children, particularly eldest daughter, Louie. Considered a contemporary classic, The Man Who Loved Children was named one of the the 100 greatest novels of all time by Time magazine.


In her entry in Ig's acclaimed Bookmarked series, author Lucy Ferriss juxtaposes the egoism and brutality of Sam with the behavior of her own father, using his diaries to give the reader an intimate and devastating portrait of their father-daughter relationship. Ferriss also shares how The Man Who Loved Children influenced her own creativity and development as a writer, as well as taking on male critics of the novel—including Franzen—to get to the true feminist heart of what Time called "the greatest picture of the lousiest family of all time."