I feel like Americans are not super aware of John Wyndham in the way that he has some real fame in the UK. So I had never heard of this novel until it was reprinted by the NYRB a few years back. And except for a library VHS copy of The Day of the Triffids, I’d otherwise heard of John Wyndham. So this book begins with Matthew, the narrator’s twelve year old son developing an imaginary friend. The narrator hears Matthews arguing with Chocky in some curious ways, and as he thinks about it and talks with his wife about it, they initially decide it’s very similar to their daughter’s previously come and gone imaginary friend. Matthew, we find out, is adopted and this becomes a way for this to admit that as they don’t know much about his origins, they should monitor closely.
As they talk with Matthew, they realize that Chocky functions in ways distinct from their previous experience. Their daughter did all the talking and her imaginary friend was sort of the recipient of her trying to work out the world. Matthew has arguments, and serious ones about philosophy, math etc. Also Matthew is much older. They also learn that Chocky’s details like gender, form, etc are hard to discern and even Matthew doesn’t know.
So it goes from there. I won’t say anymore about the plot, but will say that I really enjoyed it and found it exciting and creative in ways that my expectations for an “imaginary friend” novel did not prepare me for.