Friday, July 23, 2010

The Island of Dr Moreau by H. G. Wells - Book Review #56

Friday, July 23, 2010
The Island of Dr Moreau
by H. G. Wells

A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palm-tree paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human and then "beastly" in ways they never were before--it's the stuff of high adventure. It's also a parable about Darwinian Theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), and a bloody tale of horror.

Somehow The Island of Dr Moreau passed me completely, I haven’t heard about it until quite recently. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of H. G. Wells. I always loved movies based on his books, but the books themselves bored me to tears when I was a child. So I wasn’t really excited to read it. However, the synopsis sounded interesting, the novel seemed to be very short and the thought that there is something by H. G. Wells that I have never read made me pick up the book.

I didn’t think that the book written in late 19th century could terrify me at parts like none of the contemporary book ever could. Some of Well’s descriptions, such as animal screams during vivisection, were very disturbing. Also the scene when Prendick (the main character and the narrator of the story) is first time in the woods made me become completely still, stop breathing and read with unbelievable speed.

In The Island of Dr Moreau, Wells arose some provoking themes, still not only dated and relevant for our time, but much more the part of our reality, when bioengineering, cloning and various genetic experiments not only around the corner, but have already arrived, than it was in Wells’ times. My respect to Wells for how masterfully he was able to sew into the fiction some quite serious scientific and moral discussions.

I really enjoyed the end of the book, when Prendick has returned to England and was trying to find humanity in people around him and how he was trying to come to terms with what he has experienced on the island.

I have no regrets for reading The Island of Dr Moreau. I would recommend it to anyone who has never read it. It made me rethink my attitude towards Wells and maybe I will be rereading some of his books that I read when I was a child and didn’t like.


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