London: Chatto & Windus, 1968. Single volume, measuring 7.75 x 5 inches: 295, . Original green textured boards lettered in gilt, unclipped color pictorial dust jacket. Bookseller label of Exclusive Books, Johannesburg, to front pastedown. Lightest rubbing to jacket, small stain to rear panel, last page creased.
First edition of this unsettling novel of Jewish-Arab relations, published in the wake of the Six-Day War. The narrative follows Gerda, a grief-stricken Jewish exile in Acre who copes with the loss of her son by illegally adopting Lebanese refugees: “Every child comes from something, comes with something. These two fell into my arms with no past and now they are being taken away again.” Children at the Gate is the third novel by Lynne Reid Banks, best known for her 1960 debut, The L-Shaped Room, and for her 1980 children’s book, The Indian in the Cupboard. She wrote Children at the Gate during her years on an Israeli kibbutz, where she and sculptor Chaim Stephenson raised their family, and dedicates the novel to “all half-and-halfs, especially Adiel and Gillon,” her sons. For more on Banks, see Celia Brayfield, The Accidental Feminists. A near-fine copy.