This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon Please head there for in depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.
This modernist novel is a classic of Australian literature that is not talked about nearly enough It is a discussion of the effects of eugenics in the 1930s Australia, as well as the hereditary nature of madness.
The beginning of this novel starts off interestingly enough, with Nigel being injured in a car crash We are then almost immediately introduced to the fragmented consciousness of Linda, his wife Things get progressively melodramatic from there though.
I have to confess I didn t finish reading this text The modernist style and flow of consciousness style really wasn t up my alley I had to read it and write an essay on it on how modernism and realism developed in Australian literature I have to say it s not one of my better essays at all.
It took me ages to work out that Dark was the surname of the author who wrote the book Well, not ages, but I was confused for a bit, when I was searching to buy it online The cover certainly fits in with the Dark theme don t you think I think the most interesting thing about this novel was that the time progression is really strange modernism The book is officially set out into 4 parts of 4 days, but the time period covered within is much than that due to flashbacks.
When reading about this novel, I found it interesting that Dark took a long time to write it because she was dealing with raising a small child, and she felt that it was impossible to write while trying to look after him during the day Perhaps that is where the idea of Linda s desire for a child comes from The idealism in the text is said to come from the ideas of Dark s own husband.
I m unable to give you a link to buy this text, as it seems to be out of print everywhere much to the dismay of my literature teacher I got mine from a friend who had previously studied the unit If you live in Australia, and want to read it, you re welcome to my copy First published in 1934, this dramatic novel covers four days following a car crash where a doctor is critically injured, and the women around him struggle with their hopes, inhibitions and knowledge The novel works on many levels discussing eugenics in 1930s Australia, the defence of rights of the individual against control by the community, and also the topic of hereditary madness But ultimately the novel is about the situation of women who are thought of as dangerous, as they are different and do not conform or fit in to the era in which they exist.
Initially, I picked this book from a list of others by Australian writers as it was one of the shorter books to choose from I didn t realise quite how much I would like it.
Except, when I was just a little over have way through, my teacher had someone come in and give our class a lecture on the book, and she spoiled the ending for me, so at that point, I didn t really want to read it any, as the ending in a lot of cases is the best part.
However, I had to keep reading it It was either that, or pick another, longer book and start all over again And I m glad I did I pleasantly enjoyed the book.
Except it s ending I really liked the character of Linda, so when she killed herself in the end, I felt as though she was just giving up, throwing away all that she had been fighting for for most of her life, as well as what she had been fighting for in her marriage.
While some people might like the ending, as it gives way for Kay to be with Nigel, I really didn t see anything in this way until I was told that it can be viewed as a love story, if you will Right from the jump, I didn t like Kay In fact, after a little character development, I grew to hate Kay even than I did when I first read her character The fact that Kay was so obsessed with Nigel just made her even worse.
Nigel s mother drove me nuts I couldn t stand her She claims to have hated Linda, but here s the problem I have with that was she not the one that set them up If she hated Linda so much, why would she go through the trouble of setting her son up with the woman Linda in my view was nowhere near insane It was the environment in which she lived that made it seems as though she was insane, or going insane Her uncle would always be watching her as she was going to sleep, and Nigel decided for them that they wouldn t have children to prevent her wrecked genes from carrying on in a child of their own As well, she and Nigel lived away from most of the civilisation, which probably helped aid her insanity It is with great reflection when I say that she was fooling people in the end to believe that she was insane than she really was because, who ISN T insane in some small way or another.
Nigel was a bland character While he had an eventful and somewhat exciting character, I thought there could have been to him than there actually was I was often bored while reading the parts based around him I did, however, like him to some degree Another however It was a reluctant liking, as I did not appreciate the way he simply determined that he and Linda would not have a child I m not a feminist in any way any than than the average woman, but I believe it the woman s right to decide whether or not she and her husband should have a baby Either that or that it should be a mutual decision All in all, with the exception of the ending, I enjoyed this book It has a twist at almost every corner which just made it all the pleasant to read Aces I m not a fan of modernist writing, having failed to get through a single Patrick White or Virginia Woolf book, because I simply need a story to move ahead and not get bogged by details I find it anti imagination Dark joins some excellent company with this beloved novel, but I could not get into it.
Prelude to Christopher is a superb Australian novel it amazes me that it is so little known Rich in psychological themes and characters, feminist before there was such a word and a fist shake at conformity I am now compelled to seek out of Eleanor Dark s work.
Best Book, Prelude to Christopher Author Eleanor Dark This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Prelude to Christopher, Essay By Eleanor Dark Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please read And Make A Refission For You I struggled to keep interested to start with but was racing to turn the pages as it went on to find out what happened in the end interesting style of writing, not at all what I m used to made me think a lot about what was being written and how the author was expressing it.
A testament to the wretchedness of the entire philosophy of the Eugenicist.