Friday, 5 August 2011
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
If you're not a fan of dystopian fiction look away now!
The Chrysalids takes place in the post-apocalyptic town of Labrador, Canada. Labrador is a small isolated community living in a world that has been devastated by some kind of catastrophic event (I'm assuming a nuclear holocaust of some kind) Since all modern technology was destroyed in the “event” the community have been set back a few hundred years or so and live in a fairly primitive manner.
The people have a fear of anything born with an abnormality no matter how minor. Whole fields are burnt if any crops are found growing wrong, animals are swiftly slaughtered and humans are banished to 'the fridges', an inhospitable place where it is unlikely anyone will survive. Added to the plot mix are the communities fundamental Christian beliefs, these are extreme God fearing folk indeed as the Bible happens to be the only book to have survived the event. The story centres around a young man called David who finds that he himself is a deviant along with several other people in the village when he begin to develop telepathic powers.......
The above synopsis has similar plot lines of so so many other post-apocalyptic books. Constantly while reading The Chrysalis I was reminded of other books, films and TV shows that had very similar plot elements that I lost count of them all. The Chrysalids was first published in 1955 and it is not difficult to see how much of an influence this novel has had. You may feel that its not worth reading because it has been done so many times since but The Chrysalis is still a great dystopian novel of its type.
This was a very easy read which moved quickly and yet which also threw up some interesting questions. The storyline was a very good one which has not aged at all, in fact I was surprised at how modern the book seemed. If you like your dystopian fiction then even if you took out the influence this book has had out of the equation, it is still a very fine read. Recommended
Posted by Jess
The US title for this book is Re-Birth