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The Chrysalids [Paperback]

John Wyndham
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Jun 1973
In the community of Waknut it is believed mutants are the products of the Devil and must be stamped out. When David befriends a girl with a slight abnormality, he begins to understand the nature of fear and oppression. When he develops his own deviation, he must learn to conceal his secret.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New impression edition (28 Jun 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140013083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140013085
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 11.3 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Perfect timing, astringent humour . . . One of the few authors whose compulsive readability is a compliment to the intelligence (Spectator)

Remains fresh and disturbing in an entirely unexpected way (Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Connection Series
‘Connections will leave a legacy for youth theatre groups everywhere. The collections should be enthusiastically received in the classroom.’ Times Educational Supplement

Connections is a new series of challenging and entertaining playscripts for 11-19s, commissioned by the Royal National Theatre and written by professional playwrights. Each books contains reference details for online educational resources for teachers and youth group leaders, as well as Royal National Theatre website information where details of past productions and interviews with authors can be accessed.

If we hope to have discerning practitioners and audiences tomorrow we must ensure that work of quality is available to young people now. Connections provides that quality. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
WHEN I was quite small I would sometimes dream of a city -which was strange because it began before I even knew what a city was. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Apocalyptic Genius 30 Jan 2006
By Wordy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Chrysalids tells the story of an isolated remnant of human civilisation struggling to rebuild in a world that was devastated (by thermonuclear war - although he never says this directly it is clear from the effects he describes).
The story works superbly by not providing too much detail - it invites the reader to fill in the blanks and is a much more intelligent take on the post apocalyptic genre. The 'how it happened' aspect of the story is secondary to dealing with the human issues.
In particular Wyndham's vision of a society that has reverted to an extreme paranoid interpretation of the bible is superb - the paranoia over checking for mutants amongst them has strong overtones of the Salem witch trials etc.
I am a relative newcomer to John Wyndham and read The Day of the Triffids before moving on to his other work. Having now read most of his novels I would rate The Chrysalids as his best.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
This was what Wyndham did best: he's created horrible futures for us. He was a dab-hand at the nightmare vision. Like 'The Day of the Triffids' and 'The Kraken Wakes', 'The Chrysalids' points to a grim, dystopian future where people struggle to survive and reconstruct lost order and security after a terrible disaster. But whereas the events that led up to the annihilation of most of the human population in The Triffids and The Kraken were explained in detail in those books, the devastation of huge areas of the planet that are described in The Chrysalids, occurred hundreds of years before the time this story begins. The people have not the vaguest memory and no documented reports of how it happened. It seems probable to the reader, from revelations about the after effects of the killer event, that what happened all that time ago was a nuclear holocaust. All the signs point to it, so it's ironic that the people of Waknuk in Labrador, where this tale is focused, have been struggling to re-establish their lives in the image of the much revered 'Old People' and the halcyon days when life was happy and untroubled by the horrors of what they call 'tribulation'. Even though they believe the Old People brought down the wrath of God upon themselves and their descendents, they know nothing of nuclear war. So they're working to redeem themselves in the eyes of God. One way they try to do this is by ensuring the destruction of mutants. Humans must conform to the image of God, as they believe God intended. Any human that deviates from that norm is considered an abomination. Human mutants are sterilized and ejected from the community, mutant animals are slaughtered and mutant crops are burned. Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Park Year Six review of The Chrysalids 30 Jun 2008
We think that Wyndham's book 'The Chrysalids' was an extraordinary book with amazing descriptions. This book would be suitable for people of 11 years and upwards. Some of the ideas are quite challenging, but we read it in class, and were able to have discussions about some of these elements, for example whether the Great Horses were a deviation or not.

The book starts with David's dream of a calm sea, and a shining city with flying fish shaped machines, but this is a world that the people of Waknuk have never seen. The introduction made us think initially that the book might be a little boring, but then we met Sophie. Sophie is a normal, fun loving girl...or is she...

'The Chrysalids' is great because it doesn't give us all of the information straight away, it is packed with elements of surprise, and we enjoyed looking for, and working out the clues as we went along.

We were all a little disappointed with the ending, as there were still a lot of unanswered questions, and we wish that Wyndham had written a sequel, so that it wasn't such an abrupt conclusion.

If you enjoy science fiction and adventure this is the book for you. Even if you don't there are plenty of plot lines, and situations which pose moral dilemas which made us sad and annoyed and is definately worth reading.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Perhaps the best book I have ever read, I read it some 15 or so years ago and it still remains fresh in my mind. You'll read it in one sitting if possible and I hope you derive the same pleasure from it that I did.
Imagine a world that has gone wrong and suffers from the legacy of the mistakes it made in a previous era and then imagine a people that can rise above this imperfection and strive for a world of unity and love. In this book you've got it all, "Beautiful."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review 16 May 2007
The Chrysalids has my vote for best novel by John Wyndham; I loved it as a teenager and still find it an excellent story, as fresh and evocative as ever. Set in the future after an apocalyptic war has ravaged the earth, this is about a group of unusual children, who find themselves dangerously at odds with the fundamentalist community into which they have been born. As well as being a tale of adventure and survival, The Chrysalids is also about difference, and what happens when society draws an arbitrary line between normal and deviant. Watch Thou for the Mutant!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A community of the future. 15 Oct 2000
By A Customer
I first read this book more than forty years ago and it still grips. Small communities struggle to survive when deviations appear amongst the farms, whether it is mutant corn, animals, and even humans who are considered to be possessed by the Devil.The story explains how these mutations appeared, and what happens when some young people began to experience thought transference. They become outcasts, but find friends in unexpected places. It is a pity that this story, unlike some of John Wyndham's other novels, has never been filmed. A good read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
First read this about 40 years ago so it was nice to see that it was as good as I remembered. Interesting to find that it is echoed such a lot in Cloud Atlas, wonder if he read it... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mrs. A. M. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chrysalids
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set in a post apocolyptic world, where the main characters are afraid of mutations. It's really a childrens book, but was chosen for our book club. Read more
Published 1 month ago by TRACEY WOODCOCK
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read for lovers of dystopia
A simple and intriguing story about a futuristic, post-apocalyptic society on Earth. I read this on my commute and devoured it, I am a fan of 1984 and Brave New World so this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by S Mannish
5.0 out of 5 stars I had read it before
Very compelling in a way it has a ring with my medical condition of 33yrs caused by NHS medication and the denial of medical experts .
Published 3 months ago by John B. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic post-apocalyptic novel
I'm a big fan of dystopian novels or generally any book where civilisation has collapsed / is collapsing. Must be a sign of my character. Read more
Published 4 months ago by OllyFromTooting
5.0 out of 5 stars vintage Wyndham
A cracking novel. For anyone who's not read any Wyndham it is probably his best. This was the third time I had read it.
Published 4 months ago by joanne summerfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Wyndham's finest book
It feels slightly odd sitting down to write a review of John Wyndham's The Chrysalids. I first read it when I was ten or eleven - about the same age as the book's protagonist,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr. P. Labrow
3.0 out of 5 stars More subtle than the Kraken or the Triffids
I was slightly disappointed with this book. Yes it had the dystopian, apocalyptic future attached to it that can be seen throughout the rest of Wyndhams books, but it just didn't... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Rachel
5.0 out of 5 stars a great book
I have read most of John Wyndham books and I find them fascinating for a scientist hr write a great sci fi books. I recommend them to all sci fi readers.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. Rs Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars A slightly biased account
This is a slightly biased account giving the book 5 stars as this is in my top 3 favourite books EVER. Read more
Published 6 months ago by charlotte
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