Before the post-apocalyptic classic The Chrysalids came across my desk in grade nine English, I had never read anything like it. I still have not read much SciFi or Fantasy but am continually trying to diversify my tastes and read across genres.
I came upon a copy of the slim novel recently, and though I couldn’t remember how it ended (did I even finish it?), I had a fondness for the characters and knew it would be a book I should pick up again with my adult vision.
A second reading, thirty years later, and I am fully aware of why I carried that torch.
The Chrysalids offers prescient imagery of a society divided after the destruction of nuclear fallout, or as the hyper-religious of the novel prefer to see it, when God put Tribulation forth as penance for the continued unforgivable sins of man.
To stave off any further punishment, the people of Waknuk must rid their community of any genetic mutations that arise. Any Deviation of crops, animals, or humans from the perceived “Definition of Man,” as found in one of their Holy books, Repentances, shall be either destroyed or banished to preserve the purity and integrity of the righteous land.
Our protagonist, David, is part of a secret group of telepathic mutant kids who communicate surreptitiously by reading each others’ thought-shapes. Although the story and the characters are not as in-depth as I would have preferred, watching the group come of age whilst trying to juggle the weight of their Deviation was fascinating. The Chrysalids is one of those stories where I feel cheated by not knowing more about the characters and their journey; if only John Wyndham had written it as a series.
Watch for a Peachy Books MEme collection of quotes from this beloved and fantastical British YA tale later this week.
Below is an vintage clip of John Wyndham discussing a reader’s willingness to suspend disbelief based on geographical and/or cultural factors.
Have you read any John Wyndham?
Do you have a suggestion for which of his I should read next?
As a bit of housekeeping: I’ve noticed that at times on other bloggers’ posts that I have ‘liked,’ the like has disappeared when I come across a post again. I don’t understand how or why the ‘unliking’ is happening. I wanted to state, for the record, that I am not doing this on purpose.
Does anyone else notice this happening; is this a Word Press glitch?