This sorry tale of petite Charlotte Sophia’s catastrophic, short life is classic Gorey. The poor child is orphaned and treated mercilessly by schoolmates and ruffians alike, and only barely survives – for a time, anyway – by the skin of her baby teeth. Even her doll suffers a grusome end. The little girl’s journeiy is perfect fodder for Edward Gorey’s brilliant penwork, so detailed and perfectly wrought that it’s hard to believe he could master these images at such a small size (the illustrations reproduced in the book ar the same size as his original drawings). The Hapless Child is widely regarded as one of Gorey’s best books; happily it is now back in print after an absence of many years, so that we can all enjoy weeping for Charlotte Sophia again… and again… and again.
Pomegranate, 2008 (1961)