** spoiler alert **
The latest in my run of reading or re-reading Wyndham's novels this year in no particular order and for no particular reason other than I felt like it!
This has quite a different feel for me than, say, the more apocalyptic (if quietly so) tales such as The Kraken Wakes
or The Day of the Triffids
. There isn't so much of a sinister feeling throughout, even though we're talking about a child being 'inhabited' by an alien presence and even when this turns into an actual 'possession' with the alien Chocky controlling Matthew's body it's still not totally horrifying. Odd, certainly, and a little creepy, but Chocky's actions, saving Matthew and his sister Polly from drowning, and intent, to offer positive assistance to one of the few other intelligent forms of life Chocky's people have found, are explicitly benevolent.
This view is mainly influenced by the narrator, Matthew's father, who is quickly ready to believe in Chocky's existence and is more intrigued than worried, seeing little need to interfere when his son is healthy and happy. It should perhaps seem more sinister, but the kidnapping of Matthew by people who want to learn the alien's secrets actually seems worse. Clearly it would be a very different book if written from the perspective of the mother who swings between concern, dismissal of an 'imaginary friend', horror at the possibility of possession, fear for her child, returning to denial of Chocky's existence... That would be a far more uncomfortable read. As it is, it's an enjoyable and even cheery story, but with a sinister edge of what could have happened that creeps up on you afterwards.
Once again I loved Wyndham's characters, especially the children here: with Matthew's frustration when trying to convey Chocky's ideas by finding his vocabulary lacking, and little sister Polly who can describe anything that has happened to Matthew in comparison with events from the life of "Twinklehooves", the show-pony/ballerina from her favourite books!