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2.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  179 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
In 1855, an ambitious eugenics experiment pits a British craniologist, Dr. Samuel Bates, against his French rival, Jean-Louis Belavoix: two infants, a black boy and a white girl, are raised on a deserted island by a mute nurse and monitored twice yearly. But doubts surface in London about the scientists' real intentions. Eventually, the ferry captain who supplies provision ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Phoenix
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(showing 1-30 of 316)
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Feb 25, 2012 Velvetink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Racists is a panorama of 19th-century ideas about race, but it is also a sly, penetrating commentary on their contemporary survival, highlighting the cross-fertilisation between social science, politics and philanthropy. Taut, elegant and intelligent, this is one of the most interesting novels so far to chart the history and content of European racism." says Mike Phillips - read his excellent review here;
Dec 21, 2008 Uma rated it liked it
This book was a quick read. The tale had so much potential for a grand climax......perhaps I expected too much and was dissapointed that it didn't reach the heights I expected of it. The topic in itself had so much possibilities.
I give this book 2 and a half stars.
Rebecca McNutt
The plot of this book was slightly intriguing, but a lot of it just didn't even make any sense. I think it could've done better if more work was put into it. :-\
Madeleine McLaughlin
Oct 05, 2013 Madeleine McLaughlin rated it really liked it
Very nice story about racist experiments in human behavior. A black boy and white girl of the same age are left with a mute nurse alone on an island to see which one will be 'superior'. Alas, it's the scientists themselves who become the savages.
Feb 21, 2014 Jethin rated it it was ok
I read the book, knowing that it was a work of fiction, but hoping that it would have some kind of insight into result of the experiment. But it was first a novel about the story on the conduct of the experiment and the small life/incident stories of the individuals being experimented upon and the scientist themselves.

There is nothing that can taken from the book on the major selling point plot. The idea, the core idea was very interesting but the books fails tell anything about that directly.
Yasmine Alina a
May 17, 2015 Yasmine Alina a rated it liked it
"Book about a scientific experiment in the mid-19th century in which a white girl and a black boy are raised together as savages on a small uninhabited island off the coast of Africa"

The whole story seems to be lacking something and the link between episodes are sometimes too abrupt and completely unbelievable but I definitely enjoyed the descriptions. They are probably the best parts of this book as the story itself could have been taken to a much better level. It is nevertheless an interesting
Jan 23, 2016 Maria rated it it was ok
*The premise of the experiment had a lot of flaws that I can't see the point of getting through with it.
*The plot was interesting but it turned out a dud - the ending was a disappointment.
Sanjeev Nv
Aug 28, 2015 Sanjeev Nv rated it liked it
Great plot and good buildup but ending is disappointing. Tries to get deeper into minds of main protagonists but somewhere looses heart to go deeper. Gets superficial at times.
Sep 23, 2014 Priyank rated it it was ok
The plot has such great potential but it is mostly wasted by author trying to make the story more sluggish and about technicalities rather than making it interesting fiction.
The end was also as bland as the story flow.

Good potential gone wasted!
Debbie Cresswell
May 04, 2016 Debbie Cresswell rated it it was ok
The premise of this novel was sound but I felt the story lost its way towards the end.
Praveen Palakkazhi
May 28, 2015 Praveen Palakkazhi rated it liked it
Shelves: indian-fiction
A fascinating concept - Two scientists decide to settle the issue of the race war once and for all by letting a black boy and a white girl grow up on a remote island with only a mute nurse to foster them. As the years go by, the experiment becomes more difficult to sustain and ultimately grave consequences await. I loved the book's idea and there is some wonderful writing here. However, towards the denouement, things to tend to get a bit monotonous and repetitive. Despite this, I would still rec ...more
Mar 11, 2009 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: a-world-without
A unique look on racial inequality and the narrow mindedness of early scientists. The premise of the book was unique but the delivery was lacking an entertaining quality. I felt for the most part that I was reading from a textbook, the beginning and middle was very dry. However, just as the story was starting to climax, it ended. Which kind of left a bad impression over all. Had the author chosen to eliminate most of the fact and incorporated a little more fiction, I think it would have left a g ...more
Jan 04, 2011 Miranda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, africa
Interesting premise that I was super-stoked to read about. I had hoped the author would delve further into the actual experiment versus the scientists, and even now I'm not 100% on his motivation.

It was a good illustration of what pre-evolutionism must have been like. The stark racism and white superiority depressed me and I wonder how the human race ever evolved.
Aug 16, 2011 Danyel rated it liked it
Overall I did enjoy the book and I didn't know how it was going to end right up until the final moments. The story was engaging and the author explored ideas of race, class and gender in a respectful and honest fashion. I sometimes found the dialogue wordy and over verbose but overall the book is a good read.
Kathleen McRae
Jul 23, 2011 Kathleen McRae rated it did not like it
weird book it tried to carry the story by a series of asides and since the people were very strange so was the book content
uhm.. interesting... but inconclusive as far as i could make out.,
Feb 06, 2011 Karishma rated it really liked it
interesting read
Swarnali marked it as to-read
Aug 20, 2016
Riddhi Bhattacharya
Riddhi Bhattacharya marked it as to-read
Aug 12, 2016
Alissa marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2016
Sonalika Debnath
Sonalika Debnath marked it as to-read
Aug 05, 2016
Pratham Rao
Pratham Rao marked it as to-read
Jul 27, 2016
Nizam uddin
Nizam uddin rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2016
Amit marked it as to-read
May 27, 2016
Humraj marked it as to-read
May 23, 2016
Nazem Kadri
Nazem Kadri marked it as to-read
May 23, 2016
Sahal Merchant
Sahal Merchant rated it it was ok
May 22, 2016
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Kunal basu was born in Calcutta. Raised by unorthodox parents, both litterateurs and political activists, he developed an early love for the arts: painting, acting and writing.

Since 2001, he has published four novels, a collection of short stories, written a few screen plays and (mostly unpublished) poetry.
More about Kunal Basu...

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