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The Chrysalids Paperback – Feb 22 2000


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Amazon.ca First Novel Award - 6 Canadian Novels Make the Shortlist



Product Details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 1st Abridged edition edition (Feb. 22 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582419808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582419803
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 0.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,014,370 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 the 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 an alternate 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

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
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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By A Customer on Nov. 29 2000
Format: Paperback
The future society depicted in "The Chrysalids" is still suffering the after-effects of a disaster sent by God, which all but destroyed the ancient world of the Old People. The survivors called the disaster Tribulation. No one knows why it happened, but the narrator, David, attributes it to "a phase of irreligious arrogance", which God, in his anger, punished. Only a few legends of the Old People remain. Centuries (millenia?) have passed, and the descendents of the Old People continue to pick up the pieces.
"The Chrysalids" is a book that deals with the issue of normality. Basically, to be considered normal you have to be in the majority. In the world David describes anything "not right" is deemed an "Offence" or a "Blasphemy". Mutants are seen as the spawn of the devil and must be destroyed to preserve the true image. (Throughout history people have always needed someone to persecute for the world's ills.)
The reader will probably have guessed that this is a world after a nuclear holocaust. But we don't actually know for sure. Other reviewers have criticised the scientific validity of radiation and its effects. For all we know it could have been a weapon even more powerful than an H-bomb that caused Tribulation. (Who knows what scientific marvels the 21st century will bring? No one imagined nuclear weapons at the start of the 20th.)
I like the way the book has a go at the self-righteousness of religion. How much cruelty and suffering has been inflicted on innocent people in the name of religion? The way mutants are treated in "The Chrysalids" is reminiscent of the witch hunts in 18th century Europe. As a matter of fact, the future described in this book resembles the 18th century.
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