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Nightmare's Child

Novel by James Farber 1983, revised 1985.

The boy known as Blue suffered a horrendous childhood. His mother was a transient hippy who earned money any way she could, including using him in child pornography. His father was a drunk who raped him more than once. But when a truck driver rapes and accidently kills his mother, then dumps him in the desert, it will at least soon be over. But then he finds Mr. Harriman, a voice in his head who knows everything and can cause him pain if he doesn't do what he's told. Acting on what Mr. Harriman tells him, he teams up with Az, a wolf who is devoted to him, and then finds the Kaufmans, a young couple who have lost their only son in a car accident. When they decide to adopt Blue, they do not realise what else they are inviting into their house.

Not a nice book. Similar in some ways to C Terry Cline's Damon, but far more unpleasant, this deals with all the taboo subjects that could affect a ten year old kid: as Blue, he witnesses murder, rape and works in kiddie porn; when he becomes Matt Kaufman, he himself murders, rapes and indulges in cannibalism. But however taboo the subject matter, Farber has created a consistently interesting book, conveying superbly the workings of a child's mind, one that is far from normal; and sustaining the tension throughout. What he could have elaborated on is the factual Zoroastrian base to the story, which doesn't receive much attention at all. Worthwhile and very different to Farber's other horror novel, Blood Island.


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