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The Chrysalids Mass Market Paperback – Feb 6 2001


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK; New impression edition (Feb. 6 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140013083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140013085
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 1.4 x 18.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #347,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Perfect timing, astringent humour ... One of the few authors whose compulsive readability is a compliment to the intelligence Spectator Remains fresh and disturbing in an entirely unexpected way Guardian --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Harrower's plays include Knives in Hens, Kill the Old, Torture Their Young and Dark Earth (Traverse), Presence (Royal Court) The Chrysalids (NT Connections), Blackbird (Edinburgh International Festival; West End), A Slow Air (Tron Theatre, Glasgow). Adaptations include Buchner's Woyzeck (Edinburgh Lyceum), Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author (Young Vic), Chekhov's Ivanov and Horvath's Tales from the Vienna Woods (National Theatre), Schiller's Mary Stuart (National Theatre of Scotland), and Brecht's The Good Soul of Szechuan and Gogol's The Government Inspector (Young Vic). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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First Sentence
WHEN I was quite small I would sometimes dream of a city -which was strange because it began before I even knew what a city was. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ronald W. Maron TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 21 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Because this has been labeled as being a Sophomore High School English text book, I was quite surprised at the high quality of symbolism that was featured in the first half of the book. A small gathering of people located in Labrador and survivors of a nuclear holocaust exhibited extremely high levels of racism and prejudice to anyone who was 'not in (their) image of God'. This separatism was not only accepted by the local religious group, but it was demanded of its populace as well! Anyone who did not reject the 'mutants' was severely punished. While 'The Chrysalids' was written in the mid '50s while racial prejudice was rampant in the US, the religious zealotry that we are experiencing today was not nearly as prevalent. In spite of that, Wyndham foretold of it and described it quite well.

The book quickly devolved from a quality allegory to an Indiana Jones sequel, however. We have the good guys being chased by the bad guys, being caught by worse guys but eventually saved by the very good guys! Even though the author attempts to explain this final sequence under the banner of 'evolution', he does so in an awkward and trite manner. Gone is the high quality symbolism and is replaced by a mistaken view of evolution that states that in order for improvement in a species to occur, the former population must be totally destroyed. If that were to be the case, there would remain only one species of insect, one species of birds, one species of fish, etc.... Because of this tenet, there can be no full evolution of a complete population into a variety of sub-species as we presently see all around us. As shown in the final sequence, there is no emotional distress that the 'advanced' population should experience while exterminating the 'lower' species!
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The human race is content on war to make things go their way. The joke of World War Three is real as little things can unstable countries (like a movie) making two very powerful countries go head to head. Humans are destructive creatures that one day will destroy each other, and the planet with it. After a major war only parts of the land are not deadly with radiation, saving the few people who live there. Three hundred years after the Great War the society is quite different that before the bombs hit.

David lives in a very strict community, where God was the boss and it was up to everyone (especially his dad) to obey him. The biggest message “God” gave out was: “Watch thou for the mutant! The Devil is the father of deviation. Blesses are the norm.” Mutants to them, was the most deadly thing on earth. If an animal was a mutant (four legged chicken, or two headed cow) they were slaughtered, a yield of unusual crops were burned, but a person? They were sent to the Fringe. In David’s community there was the place itself, surrounding the community was the Fringe; a place where they sent mutants as it is a place God does not rule. Outside of the Fringe was the Badlands, given its name as nothing can live there (due to the high radiation levels) His community is in Labrador, Newfoundland, the only place he ever known, which is quite a shame that he had to leave because of his family.

David was born to know that mutants were sent by the devil. His childhood friend, Sophie, was not evil, she was actually quite nice. The only issue with her was for her sixth toe on each foot. Just because she had an extra little toe, doesn't mean she is the Devil’s child, right? This was the first time David started questioning his family methods.
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This is one of those books that is very thought provoking.

For its time period to even suggest religion into a bad view is very brave of the author. To call out some of the most outrageous judgements religion causes in a society. (At the time of writing you have to realise that the majority of the people in the Western world were highly religious and more so Christian than any other). Judging people because they are different from you or what your religion/belief says is the "norm".

The book is a worthwhile read, but the only thing I disliked was the ending.. I understand that he was probably getting tired and wanted to wrap it up.. but leaving it on a cliff hanger would have been better than what it did.

This book also highlights some reasons I extremely dislike religion. Given the freedom and complete power, I could see modern religious groups doing this exact thing to anyone different from them. The extremists take it over and cast out/kill anyone different.
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As a child, David has learned the strict rules of his society: "Watch Thou for the Mutant," "The Norm is the Will of God," and "The Devil is the Father of Deviation." This all meant that any living things, plant, animal, or man, had to be sacrificed or banished as soon as it was discovered to be deviant. David's father, Joseph Strorm, was the leader in the vigilant lookout for deviations in the society.
Waknuk was fortunate, because it was in Labrador, far away from the center of the nuclear war, the Badlands, further to the south. Since God had sent Tribulation down upon the Old People, humans had been struggling to return to the level of civilization that the Old People were at. Now because the past generations of Waknuk had been very careful, the community was now almost free of deviations that were the result of Tribulation. Any that did appear were destroyed or, in the case of blasphemies, banished to the Fringes.
At the beginning of the story David meets Sophie Wender and discovers that she is a physical deviant with six toes on each foot. Both she and her family are forced to run away when they are discovered by Alan Ervin. They are captured and banished to the Fringes. This problem is intensified when he sees his aunt driven to suicide because she has given birth to her third deviated baby.
David is concerned for his own personal safety when he realizes that he and the group are also deviants, because of their ability to communicate with each other in thought patterns.
Although they manage to hide their deviation, the birth of David's little sister, Petra, causes numerous problems. This is because she is still an infant and is unable to control her powers. An incident occurs in which she, David and his cousin Rosalind, are found out.
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