The Child That Books Built

Episodes

First
Broadcast
Comments
20040927

is Francis Spufford's brilliant and moving memoir about his own voracious childhood reading habit and the family tragedy which lay behind it.

For this original radio version, Francis Spufford reads the memoir himself, while a small group of actors perform the specially dramatised scenes from the books he read, as if they are playing themselves out in the imagination of Francis' younger self.

The drama moves through Spufford's reading, from his early memories of having fairy stories read to him, through his stumbling first attempt to master The Hobbit, and then through later categories of fiction - adventure stories such as Swallows and Amazons, where family life seemed so much more robust than his own; the almost addictive thrill of the Narnia books; the small town life of Laura Ingalls Wilder or Harper Lee, where a child might function successfully just beyond the claustrophobic boundaries of family life; school stories and horror stories and then a return to fantasy with teennage Science Fiction.

Against this account of his reading, he tells of his sister's health - a brief optimistic interlude and her eventual death.

20060517

By Francis Spufford.

Francis Spufford recalls his voracious childhood reading habit and the poignant family drama that lay behind it.

In this adaptation of his acclaimed memoir, he hears again the stories that once filled his head and helped to build his character.

Mother....Sylvestra Le Touzel

Father....Jonathan Keeble

Young Francis....Harry Blumenau

Teenage Francis....Jack Blumenau

Sister....Brooke Theis.