Review: “Loyalties”

Suffer the children.

Delphine de Vigan’s sparse, delicate and disturbing novel intercuts the lives of two young boys propelling headlong into a fatal oblivion.

Childhood trauma underlies and unseats all the characters from a divorced mother, unemployed father, perverse parents, lost teachers and - of course - the children themselves.

Although only twelve and a half, Théo Lubin, sets out to destroy himself before he is destroyed by circumstances beyond his control. A diligent school teacher senses something is wrong, very wrong, but struggles to find ways to connect, to help.

Delphine ’s writing is tart, crisp. Each chapter is told from the perspective of each character, a framing device that angles and reveals and amplifies the drama and feeling of impending doom.

A heartbreaking and devastating tragedy of the commons.

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