Andreea Daia's Reviews > The Day of the Triffids

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
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May 24, 12

bookshelves: read-2012, science-fiction, sf-masterworks, recommended, post-apocalyptic, classics
Read from May 23 to 24, 2012

Maybe it's our jaded senses cause by the continuously bombardment by the television with death, gore, and violence... Maybe it's Wyndham's rather detached, impersonal, deadpan depiction of pain and sorrow... Or maybe (and this is I believe much of the cause) it is the author's deliberately attempted to portray a beginning rather than an end. Either way, while reading The Day of the Triffids I never felt daunted or shocked, let alone horrified of this version of apocalypse.

While he could have focused, like in José Saramago's Blindness, on the crumbling of a civilization, John Wyndham chooses instead to write about building of a new world. He is at times melancholic about the loss of the old world, but covertly he seems to consider the disaster a fortuity meant to give humanity a fresh new start: All the old problems, the stale ones, both personal and general, had been solved by one mighty slash. The entire story is imbued with hints that what happened might be for the best because it gives society a chance to redesign itself: "We have not simply to start building again; we have to start thinking again."

Because of course in the end, it wasn't a comet that destroyed the civilization as we knew it, it was humanity itself by hoarding mass-destruction weapons. There is more or less subtle criticism of the militaristic trend across the entire novel, but in the end it become quite overt:
“Do you think we could—do you think we should be justified in starting a myth to help them (Note: the children)? A story of a world that was wonderfully clever, but so wicked that it had to be destroyed—or destroyed itself by accident? Something like the Flood, again? [...]

“Yes...” I said, considering it. “Yes. It’s often a good idea to tell children the truth. Kind of makes things easier for them later on—only why pretend it’s a myth?”
Yet, nowhere John Wyndham stops proffering his conviction that humankind deserves and can be saved. The Day of the Triffids is an great novel, hinting at humanity's need to change its ways before it's too late.
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Quotes Andreea Liked

John Wyndham
“Until then I had always thought of loneliness as something negative—an absence of company, and, of course, something temporary... That day I had learned that it was much more. It was something which could press and oppress, could distort the ordinary and play tricks with the mind. Something which lurked inimically all around, stretching the nerves and twanging them with alarms, never letting one forget that there was no one to help, no one to care. It showed one as an atom adrift in vastness, and it waited all the time its chance to frighten and frighten horribly—that was what loneliness was really trying to do; and that was what one must never let it do...”
John Wyndham, The Day of the Triffids


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