"The Day of the Triffids" is perhaps the most famous catastrophe novel of the twentieth century and its startling imagery of desolate streets and lurching, lethal plant life retains its power to haunt today.
I say: Goodness gracious me, it’s when I finally get to read classics like this one that I sort of desperately wish that I had started this classics project much sooner in life. To say that I loved this would be an understatement;
I flove this (if I may be so tweeny – my sincerest apologies).
To be noted is that I only started seriously reading catastrophe novels a few years ago, so my experience with them is limited. However, this is most definitely one of the best I have come across (however little that means). As almost always, I didn’t read the synopsis before starting this novel, so I had no idea what it was about, but luckily we are drawn straight into the plot with this epic first sentence:
“When a day that you happen to know is Wednesday starts off by sounding like Sunday, there is something seriously wrong somewhere.”
We follow Bill as he walks the streets of London trying, at first, to find out what has happened, and later, simply to survive. Everyone who saw the lights in the sky winds up blind, and it’s only those who, for whatever reason, weren’t exposed to the phenomenon that maintain their sight. As expected, London is quickly turned into a quasi-warzone where fractions of survivors fight to keep themselves and their acquired goods safe. Bill quickly teams up with Josella and together they try to make their way out of the city and towards something more sustainable.
The one thing that I really loved about this was the way that Wyndham presented the triffids; he made it all seem so disturbingly probable. We are not entirely sure how they came about, but know that they are cultivated for their capabilities of providing cheap oil, and soon enough they start to take advantage of the blind population. Even though I know that it’s fiction, what’s to say that there won’t be any triffids in the future?
And that freaked me out a bit.
Furthermore, having previously lived in London, it was eerie to read about how all these places I
I don’t want to say that Bill was stupid, but sometimes it felt like it took him a while to come to certain conclusions that seemed obvious to me – especially considering that he was a biologist. Perhaps it was necessary for the plot for him to be rather
ignorant not so street-smart, but that was probably the only thing that I though was a tad off with the story. Other than that,
it was pure perfection.
I can’t wait to push this on everyone I know and hope that at least one of them reads it so that we can discuss it, because there are so many thoughts that are spinning around in my head about this post-apocalyptic world that Wyndam so genially created.
And as much as I want to see the film and BBC mini series of the book, I'm afraid it may ruin it for me.
*This is my twenty-first entry in The Classic Bribe Challenge (which is an additional incentive for me to work on my Classics Challenge that’s been going on for a tad too long).