zondag 7 februari 2016

John Wyndham: The Chrysalids

Hi everyone

This review is about the second John Wyndham book I read. The Day of the Triffids was one of my favorite books last month so I wanted to read this one shortly after.
I got my beautiful copy from Book Depository and it has 7 pages introduction by M. John Harrison and 187 pages story.

“David Strorm's father doesn't approve of Angus Morton's unusually large horses, calling them blasphemies against nature. Little does he realize that his own son, his niece Rosalind and their friends, have their own secret aberration which would label them as mutants. But as David and Rosalind grow older it becomes more difficult to conceal their differences from the village elders. Soon they face a choice: wait for eventual discovery or flee to the terrifying and mutable Badlands...”

I enjoyed this book very much.
The characters are vividly written, there is a sense of danger throughout the novel and the world building is subtle but thorough. It’s very readable and short but it’s still deeply moving and thoughtful.

The setting and the concept were very intriguing. I could actually see the community of Waknuk as a real place and I could understand the people’s fear for mutations and the reasons for their way of life.
I loved finding out about Zealand because I always like to know what happened to the rest of the world in these kinds of novels. Most of the time the world outside the specific country or city the book is set in, is ignored.

Even though the message the book puts out is quite moral it is also philosophical and it’s never lecturing, dramatic, sentimental or judging. That’s why some people might not even see it. Or see something else than I did.
I liked how David’s father is too much of a religious fundamentalist even for his neighbors. The scene with David’s aunt will stay with me for a long time.

                *  SPOILERS  *

However, I did feel like there was too much foreshadowing. Most chapters ended talking about how it would all change for the worse and I never like that.
Worst of all though was the ending. The Zealanders kill the Waknuk search team and the people from The Fringe just because they could and because they’re different. The Zealanders think they are better than them so they don’t matter and can be killed. They actually react exactly like the Waknuk people to others who differ from them by killing them and thinking ‘it’s us or them’. Those people were no threat to the Zealanders because they live too far and because they’re not as technologically advanced. 

This ending is completely at odds with Wyndham’s message for tolerance and empathy throughout the book. In the end, our main characters go from one community to another with exactly the same kind of thinking but now they are the ones belonging to the approved group.
And the explanation for this massacre offered by the Zealand woman is futile, ridiculous and clumsy.

4 STARS

Happy reading.
Helena

Kraken Rum while enjoying this one.