- Title: The Changeling
- Author: Robin Jenkins
- ISBN: 9780862412289
- Page: 145
- Format: Paperback
Thirteen year old Tom Curdie, the product of a Glasgow slum, is on probation for theft His teachers admit that he is clever, but only one, Charles Forbes, sees an uncanny warmth in his reticence and in his seemingly insolent smile so he decides to take Tom on holiday with his own family This powerful novel explores one of Jenkins s consistent and most fruitful themes howThirteen year old Tom Curdie, the product of a Glasgow slum, is on probation for theft His teachers admit that he is clever, but only one, Charles Forbes, sees an uncanny warmth in his reticence and in his seemingly insolent smile so he decides to take Tom on holiday with his own family This powerful novel explores one of Jenkins s consistent and most fruitful themes how goodness and innocence are compromised when faced with the pressures of growing up and becoming part of society.
Recent Comments "The Changeling"
This is an old-fashioned book, but that’s not a complaint. Written in the mid-1950’s, it describes a world almost as remote and alien to us now as the medieval period or the Regency. Superficially there are resemblances - suburban houses, family life, schools with teachers and pupils, ‘difficult’ estates - but below the surface lurk strangenesses which are difficult to comprehend from a distance of fifty-something years. The style is odd, too. Modern novels insist on rigid points of view [...]
This is a beautifully written book, but it's a pretty bleak and harrowing read. It's grimly fatalistic - some reviewers here have likened it to Thomas Hardy's 'Jude the Obscure', and it does share some of that novel's themes. Characters are trapped by class, background and poverty, and any attempt to break away from the path life has mapped out for them seems to be doomed to failure at best, or punishment by vengeful gods at worst.The premise is simple and set up with little fuss - schoolteacher [...]
Robin Jenkins’ The Changeling, which was first published in 1958, is a remarkably powerful tale about the class divide — and one man’s attempts to bridge the gap and help someone less fortunate than himself.That man is Charlie Forbes, a teacher — repeatedly overlooked for promotion — who strives always to see the good in his students, even if they may have bad reputations.Thirteen-year-old Tom Curdie is one of those students. A product of the Glasgow slums, he is on probation for theft [...]
The Changeling Robin JenkinsThis is a first class novel, which merits wider recognition outside Scotland. Underneath the amiable, laconic style lies a vision of how aspiration and reality can differ widely, and of how character and events can intersect to bring tragedy despite the best of intentions. It is a very Scottish novel, not just in its portrayal of the contrasts of the slums and coastal beauty of Western Scotland, but in the bleak Calvinism of its perspective on life.Stylistically one n [...]
When I started reading this book, I could tell by chapter one what it was about: a bumbling, misguided fool of a teacher (Forbes) tries to help a young toe-rag of a student (Tom) and the student ends up taking advantage of him and making the teacher's life a misery, destroying his family holiday into the bargain. How wrong I was. The real tragedy of young Tom's life remains invisible to almost everyone except Tom himself. The 'bumbling misguided fool' is still a bit bumbling and very misguided b [...]
This was a very dark novel! I think it was way ahead of its time (Some dark stuff for a 1950's family holiday). Jenkins explores family relationships through contrasting the seemingly delightful Forbes' life with the Curdies mere existence. And we discover what teenage angst really is. To be something impossible and to be the very thing you despise; adolescence in a nutshell.
An insightful novel, full of a clear eyed vision of human foibles and frailty. Probably the bleakest thing I've ever read.
John Robin Jenkins OBE (Order of the British Empire) was born on 11 September 1912 in Flemington, near Cambuslang in the West of Scotland. He died on 24 February 2005. He and his three siblings were brought up by his mother after his father died when he was only seven years old. His mother did not have a lot of money but Jenkins secured a bursary to attend the prestigious Hamilton Academy. He subsequently studied Literature at the University of Glasgow and graduated in 1936. Jenkins worked in fo [...]
Another great Jenkins observation of Scotland's relationship with its self around class, status, compassion, split loyalties and love. so sad, so hopeful, have read 6 Jenkins books over the winter and am loving themnsitive, harsh, human writer.
''The Changeling'' tells the story of Charlie Forbes, middle-aged, idealistic English teacher, and Tom Curdie, his clever, ''sleekit'', under nourished student in a post-war Glasgow school. Tom is condemned by society in general as 'sly and insolent', a known thief and 'certified delinquent', a slum dweller in Glasgow's most notorious slum, a boy already consigned to the rubbish dump of failure by all but Forbes. In a moment of liberal-minded idealism, decried by his more cynical colleagues, For [...]
I found this to be a better read than I suppose I initially thought. Its quite bleak, understandably so and it gives a good idea of the way children living in poverty (particularly from the Glasgow area, as in this book) were seen/viewed back in the time it was set (the 1940s/50s). I found the main character to be relatively likeable and found myself feeling sorry for him at various points. I also thought the character of Mr. Forbes and, of course, his family, was interesting as well. There is q [...]
Very unsettling story. It starts out innocent enough with this teacher, Charles Forbes, taking this underprivileged kid on holiday with his own family. Very soon, doubt sets in about whether or not Forbes' motives are all that noble (he hopes to get a promotion out of it) and it is unavoidable to gloat over the fact that Tom Curdie is deceiving him from the start. Serves this smug teacher right, you secretly think. As soon as the Forbes family and Tom Curdie reach Towellan, things start getting [...]
I cried at the end of this book, which is usually an indication that I loved it but there were times when I thought the snobbery was a bit much, surely no one could be that open and impolite to the people they thought were lower class? I guess that might be how it was 'back in the day' but I'm glad we don't live in a society like that anymore well, at least we're not quite so impolite if we do feel a bit of a snob sometimes. I thought Tom Curdie was a great character, he was so strong-minded and [...]
The gentleness of Robin Jenkins's writing belies the depth of tragedy his books evoke. This is my third Jenkins book, after The Cone Gatherers and The Pearl-fishers, and once again I was lulled by his descriptions of the little details of everyday life, apparently mundane but with every foible and guilty action building to a climax that the early chapters wouldn't lead you to expect. Here we meet Tom Curdie, a lice-ridden Raskolnikov of petty crime, who doesn't fit in either with his scum-of-the [...]
I found this a really difficult read as it's so dark and grim in parts. I hadn't read any of this author's work before and as a Scot am always keen to find new Scottish authors so gave it a go. It took me ages to work out the time in which the novel is set as it could really have been any point from the Victorian age to the 1960s. It's written in very long, multi-claused sentences like many Victorian novels so when I first started to see mentions of trams, cars and electric pylons it was jarring [...]
I struggled to get into this book. I found the language and style quite off putting but the more I read I felt it reflected the time it was set in really well. I cant say i liked any of the charactors, I found the Forbes kids snobby and irritating, although they were clearly out of their depth with Tom and the divide in their lives too great for either to bridge Charlie was patronising and pompus, although his intentions were perhaps good. Tom was portrayed in a realistic way given his circumsta [...]
Worst book I have ever read. I completely understand what the writer was trying to convey, that once you have been shown a life so much better than the one you know, it can be difficult or impossible to go back to that life and be happy. I just thought the ending was rediculous, and just for shock value. If that kid had had any sense he would have waited in the slums for a couple of years and then gotten out when he got the opertunity. I do completely understand thefeelings of being trapped and [...]
What a sweet and sad story.Robin Jenkins has written a heart warming story about a boy from the slums of Glasgow being taken on vacation by his teacher. The teacher, always being smiled upon by his colleagues, can only think about the good in people and wants to give something from his wealth to this intelligent but unprivileged and poor child. The ending however was very surprising and depressing. Made me think if I, were I in the same position, would be as generous. How much are we willing to [...]
For the last few years, I’ve been aware of Robin Jenkins’s books, notably his best known work, The Cone Gatherers, as they were perennials on the Scottish Books shelves of local stores. Of the man, however, I knew nothing and was surprised to find that he died as recently as 2005. Surprised for the silly reason that his books were in the Canongate Classics series, which also featured Scotland’s favourite book, Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, who died way back in the 1930s.Read my full [...]
Poor Tom bound to his slum background and unable to break out. A clever boy who is shown another way of life when he is taken on holiday by his teacher and his family. Mr Forbes attitude is pure tokenism he wants to look good in his own eyes and those of his peers but he isn't prepared to give it his all. The family fragments under the looming presence of Tom and only Gillian eventually understands his sadness - but too late. Thought provoking.
A strange but unexpectedly involving book. At first I didn't think I was going to be able to tolerate the dated language for long, but after a while it became part of the context of the story. It is very much of its time; mid-fifties, but that did not get in the way of the dark story which involves the awful impact on the life of a slum-child of an apparently well meaning but ultimately hypocritical middle class family. The descent into tragedy is inevitable but gripping
This is, according to the reviews I've read, one of Robin Jenkins' best novels. I loved it. It was very sad, true, but the shifting emotions I felt while the Changeling Tom encountered the Changeling Charles Forbes made this book a real winner.**Spoiler-ish**The ending is a real shock, though. I'm still reeling, I think!
This book works on two levels. As a tale of Scotland in the late nineteen fifties and as a tale of naive teacher who thinks taking a boy from the slums on holiday with him and his family will inoculate him from deprivation. the dramatic tension is handled well and we soak in the atmosphere of a bygone era.
I read this book for my a higher English and lets just say it took me a while to get int the story but once I was in it I just couldn't put it down! First in my class to finish the book I just completely loved it! :') this novel is just amazing and makes you look differently on people! Just loved it so much! 100% amazing and 5 stars x it makes you cry laugh and econd guess yourself! X
Straightforward narrative style masks a very deep and thoughtfull storyline. Written in the late 1950s, but still reads fresh. The moral dilemmas the charcters, both adult and children, draw the reader into the plot as it moves towards its climax. The overall effect is very saddening, but is important as it tackles both human and social issues still relevant today.
I was jolted out of being impervious and desensitized to the overwhelming inner struggles kids face growing up. I found the characters almost Thomas Hardy likeybe it reminded me of "Jude The Obscure", representing the human condition in its many forms and foibles without sympathy. Which I tend to enjoy.
This is a book that sneaks up on you. When I started reading it, I had no idea how affected I would be by it, and I don't think I realized how affected I had been until I reached the end. To quote my English teacher, "This book, girls, will truly move you. It will- that's all I'm going to say."
Written in the 50s and set in Scotland , this tells the story of a well-meaning teacher who takes pity on a disadvantaged boy in his class and takes him on the annual family holiday. As the tragedy unfolds, the outcome is not unexpected. Worth reading.
This book was interesting and compelling. But the end was cliched and incomplete. I really thought there must be pages missing. Let the whole book down. Definetely still worth the read but could do better!
A school book I actually thought was not bad
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