Becky's Reviews > Erewhon

Erewhon by Samuel Butler
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Jul 23, 11

Read in July, 2011

My word, this one took me a good while! I enjoyed Erewhon at first, having not read anything quite like it. It begins with the tale of an adventure, where Higgs the explorer tries to discover a new country for farming over the mountains in New Zealand (perhaps). He's a bit of a haphazard traveller, left to rot by his native guide, but somehow manages to stumble into a beautiful tribe of people known as the Erewhonians. Believing them to be one of the long lost Hebrew tribes, he tries to learn everything about their strange culture, where being ill is a crime, real crime is treated as a mental disorder to be "straightened," and all machines invented in the previous 300 or so years have been destroyed. Higgs is initially arrested for possessing a watch, but talks his way out into the wider community, where he falls in love with a beautiful woman, who he cannot lawfully marry. So far, so good. Unfortunately, he then spends 120 pages or so describing the books of law and history of the nation, and it's so damn slow and boring that I felt no impetus to read more than 5 or 6 pages a night. A highly improbable escape follows, and it's all done, leaving a poor taste in your mouth. Starts well, finishes poorly.
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