The first time I read The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. must have been in the early 1980s when I would visit my local library each week. I loved it then and so went on to read the rest of his works including the Day of the Triffids, which is perhaps his most famous work. From talking to people it is the only thing that Mr Wyndham is remembered for by most, which is a pity as he is such a great author. So ladies and other peeps let me introduce you to the Chrysalids which is available in Penguin Books.
The Chrysalids is set sometime in the future in a world that was destroyed almost completely by the insanity that is a nuclear war. We enter a world that this still recovering from that and the ascendants of the survivors of that. It is based in Labrador and told through the eyes of David who along with his cousin Rosalind and their friends a different to others in their small community and its excepted norms. In this world we are confronted with what it means to be normal, who sets the standards of normal and the fear of anything that deviates from that. We also enter a world of religious intolerance where every thing has to live up to the standards in the interpretation of the bible. Not just the bible but another book that sets out to say what the bible means. It explores in depth these themes, but that does not make it a boring book, far from it as it moves along at quite a pace.
There is so much depth to this book and although it was first published in the year of my birth 1955 it is very relevant today when the world is entering a period of religious bigotry and the threat of another world war and the consequences of that could become a frightening reality. It is explores what is like to be different not to fit into the norms and asks who sets those norms and why are we so afraid to move on.
So within what on the surface is quite a simple story told by the main character David, not only do we enter his world but we like him are left questioning so many things. Yes Mr Wyndham leaves us with hope, hope that as we evolve we can remove so much, but also with the that we are left with the warning that if we do not learn that even the evolved fall into thinking that they are superior to what is and what was.
Yes I really love this book and read it within 48hrs of getting it, something I've not done for years. It is a great book that leaves you thinking it would make a great film, but then as with all great books they are best left as the writer intended to be alive in your mind and no film can ever truly be as good as that. SO BUY IT READ IT AND ENJOY AND THEN RE-READ IT AND ENJOY AGAIN