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The Chrysalids Paperback – November, 1993
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Top Customer Reviews
What most impressed me was the author's ability to set up atmosphere in the novel. I still to this day, after years between readings remember images I formed while reading the novel. Grass between the toes, the nuclear wastes, the way the children formed telepathic images etc...
One thing that I remember clearly is how the novel was like a breath of fresh air, clean and smooth. There are no frilly edges and there is no attempt by the author to make the book flashy. This makes the book pure and adds to the impact of the story.
As an overview, there are a group of children who are living in Eastern Canada after some type of holocaust (this is never much of a point in the book... no one has memories of it). Their society is strongly anti-mutant with a very strict set of rules as to what is "normal" and what isn't. All of this children are normal looking but are telepathic and form a click of just a small number.
The book is their story of growing up and existing in this paranoid and highly dogmatic society without being discovered and banished or killed.
A definite classic in Science Fiction circles.
Genetic variations and mutations, now commonplace (no doubt as a result of higher worldwide radiation levels), are seen as evil. "Deviant" crops and animals are burnt. Humans with even the most minor mutations from their highest religious ideal, a physical norm which the community calls God's "True Image", are labeled as blasphemies and are killed outright or banished to eke out their future existence in a wildly savage outlying area called "The Fringes".
When the community discovers that David and Rosalind together with a small group of other young people have developed the ability to communicate telepathically, they are forced to flee for their lives. They are re-united with their friend Sophie, earlier banished to the Fringes for the disgusting aberration of having six toes instead of the normal five. David's younger sister, Petra, able to communicate her thoughts with a power and at a distance far beyond any of the other children discovers the presence of others like them in a distant community who mount a campaign to rescue the children from their persecutors.
In "The Chrysalids", John Wyndham has mounted a vicious attack on religious fundamentalism, bigotry, intolerance and narrow-mindedness.Read more ›
I was surprised to see that it's marketed to the 9-12 age group. It's a very precocious pre-teen who would be able to get all the sociological, moral, philosophical and political implications of the plot.
The story is narrated by David Strorm, who's about 10 when it begins and around 18 or 20 at the end. David lives in Labrador, centuries after "God sent Tribulation" unto mankind. The 21st century reader soon realizes Tribulation was a nuclear conflict that lay waste to every Western country south of Canada and north of New Zealand. Pockets of humanity do survive in Africa and elsewhere, but all those survivor communities are totally isolated from each other because the radio-activity in what was the USA, Western Europe and the Soviet block precludes land or sea travel (though there is some limited navigation and trading) and communication.
The community David belongs to is a very strait-laced one, who insists on "purity" and conformity to the "True Image". Every deviation (i.e. mutation due to radiation) in either human, animal or plant is rooted out mercilessly. Plants and animals are burned, people get sent to the savage, untamed "Fringes". Physical deviation, that is. The powers-that-be don't realize that a group of children have developed telepathy.Read more ›
David are Rosalind try to teach Petra to hide her abilities. But Petra communicates to someone outside their area. In a place that none of the other children have heard of. A place where there are many people with the ability to communicate through thought-shapes. A place where the children would not be considered different or a Mutant.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was an easy read and would be accessible to pretty much anyone. It doesn't have any of the twists or mystery of say, Animal Farm or 1984, but it's in the same social... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Northern Gurl
Shorter than it should be but a fascinating and prescient tale of religious intolerance and genetic prejudice. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paul Martin
I think this is good for maybe a younger teenager who likes sci-Fi LightPublished 3 months ago by A. Chenoweth
love it! Great post-apocalyptic fiction. At times a hair dark (there are some deaths, and implied torture), but appropriate for a young teen.Published 4 months ago by WhenInRome
I first read this book as a teenager in high school for literature class and I'm re-reading it as a 36 year old adult. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Neola
These are merely some of the words that I can use to describe this work of literary art. Read more
Of all the older books I have read, this is by far my favorite. It's almost like reading poetry. A little hard to understand at time but beautiful. The story line is so involving. Read morePublished 8 months ago by 224perweek
Interesting read. I found it engrossing and the subject matter is fascinating. I think young adults would enjoy it too a la Hunger Games but with more interesting themes. Read morePublished 10 months ago by D. Applebee
If you have watched John Carpenter's "Village of the Damned" (starring Christopher Reeves), this is the book that is based on. Read morePublished 10 months ago by ClockworkXon