Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Island of Dr Moreau

Title: The Island of Dr Moreau

Author: HG Wells

Number of pages: 128

Started: 9 February 2009

Finished: 11 February 2009

Opening words:

ON February the First 1887, the Lady Vain was lost by collision with a derelict when about the latitude 1' S. and longitude 107' W.
On January the Fifth, 1888 - that is eleven months and four days after - my uncle, Edward Prendick, a private gentleman, who certainly went aboard the Lady Vain at Callao, and who had been considered drowned, was picked up in latitude 5' 3" S. and longitude 101' W. in a small open boat of which the name was illegible, but which is supposed to have belonged to the missing schooner Ipecacuanha. He gave such a strange account of himself that he was supposed demented. Subsequently he alleged that his mind was a blank from the moment of his escape from the Lady Vain. His case was discussed among psychologists at the time as a curious instance of the lapse of memory consequent upon physical and mental stress. The following narrative was found among his papers by the undersigned, his nephew and heir, but unaccompanied by any definite request for publication.

Plot summary:

Adrift in a dinghy, Edward Prendick, the single survivor from the good ship Lady Vain, is rescued by a vessel carrying a profoundly unusual cargo – a menagerie of savage animals. Tended to recovery by their keeper Montgomery, who gives him dark medicine that tastes of blood, Prendick soon finds himself stranded upon an uncharted island in the Pacific with his rescuer and the beasts. Here, he meets Montgomery’s master, the sinister Dr. Moreau – a brilliant scientist whose notorious experiments in vivisection have caused him to abandon the civilised world. It soon becomes clear he has been developing these experiments – with truly horrific results.

What I thought:

I quite liked this book, but not as much as the other HG Wells that I have read. It had an interesting plot about the consequences of dangerous experimentation, but there was something missing from this story. I think in some ways that missing element was that it wasn’t in a familiar setting. Part of what works about The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds is that they are set in the ordinary, albeit that extraordinary things then happen.

It was an interesting read though and was well written.

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