Dispatch the maimed, the old, the weak, destroy the very world itself, for what is the point of life if the promise of fulfilment lies elsewhere?
On the windswept coast of rural Suffolk, a deranged scientist attempts to extract the essence of life itself.
I enjoyed this story which has an electronic engineer, Steven, being asked to go on a kind of secondment to a Government funded research project on the Suffolk coast. Steven is given short notice and finds himself moving in a couple of days. The head of the project, Mac, has a bit of a bad reputation from a previous project that was ended in difficult circumstances.
When he arrives a young chap called Ken picks him up from the station and takes him to the project which will also be his home for the coming months.
Steven learns from Ken a bit about the place, then from Mac what the work is he will be doing. He’s also told that the previous holder of the post he is filling at such short notice left on religious grounds. Steven learns more in the coming days and begins to understand why the work became contentious for his predecessor. He almost doesn’t stay although not for exactly the same reasons.
Mac has the small team working on a non-governmental project which is quite shocking.
The series of computers, known as Charon*, go well beyond the aims of the government project remit and takes the reader into the realms of the afterlife/science fiction dealing with what happens to the energy that the body releases on death and how it can be captured. Mac brings his theory on death to life in a way that will make you ponder whether it’s really possible as Mac believes.
This story is an intriguing and interesting premise and packs quite a bit in its 60-ish pages. However, it does leave the reader to make their own mind up on whether this is something that is possible or not and indeed if they feel it is something that should be considered.
I enjoyed this story, originally published in 1966 and found it fascinating to find Daphne du Maurier writing on a speculative topic having really only known her from reading Rebecca many years ago.
This, however, is more about the action than the obsession, as can be found in Rebecca. Certainly the length of this story does not allow for much analysis by Stephen on Mac’s personality and how he might have become engrossed with finding solutions to capturing what he believes to be a wasted energy source. Perhaps and I think we must assume that is just as Du Maurier intended or the story would have possibly been written from a different characters point of view.
*In Greek mythology, Charon or Kharon (/ˈkɛərɒn, -ən/ KAIR-on, -ən) is a psychopomp (‘guide of souls’), the ferryman of Hades, the Greek underworld and is the son of Erebus and Nyx. He carries the souls of those who have been given funeral rites across the rivers Acheron and Styx, which separate the worlds of the living and the dead.
Published: Penguin* – 1st edition (22 Feb. 2018) | 64 pages | ISBN: 9780241339206 | Imprint: Penguin Classics |
Series – *Penguin Modern: The Breakthrough is #3 of fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York’s underground scene to the farthest reaches of outer space.
Author: Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989) was born in London, England and educated at home and in Paris. She began writing in 1928, and many of her bestselling novels were set in Cornwall, where she lived for most of her life. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning with whom she had three children. Many of du Maurier’s bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now. In 1969, du Maurier was awarded the Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) and died in 1989.
More information: Daphne du Maurier website | Penguin | Virago
Looking for thoughtful discussions about books and beverages? Well, you've come to the right place.
Homepage for fledgling writer Sam A. Stevens
A place to share my love of books, old and new
Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...
Book reviews by someone who loves books ...
"Vivre le livre!"
Book Reviews & More
Life is too short to read books you don't love
The Welsh Crime Writing Collective
Book Reviews & The Joy of Reading
a classics club blog
The poetry and writing of Ailsa Cawley. Welcome!
Musings about books and a blog journal
...a crime-fictional site
WordPress & Blogging tips, flash fiction, photography and lots more!
A Community of Classics Lovers
Book reviews of mainly modern & contemporary fiction
Criminally good reads
Book reviews and the occasional ramblings of a book blogger
A place for crime fiction reviews and occasional ramblings of a 40 something in York
One Girl, Too Many Books
Musings and Ramblings of a Disorganised Blogger
Shalini's Digital Reads & Promotions
No one ever reads the same book. We all react to the written word differently. The following are my opinions regarding the books I have read.
Books, travel, and other things that make life interesting
For book lovers everywhere
Book related stuff in English and Dutch!
And for summer days
Spotlight on Nordic / Scandinavian crime fiction... and connections
Escaping reality one book at a time
Reader | Writer | Blogger
The place where I put down all my thoughts and observations
A book blog with a speculative focus
Reading under the light of a Carolina moon
Each night I TRAVEL THE WORLD, I LIVE IN THE MIND OF KILLERS AND WALK AT THE SIDE OF HEROES
Celebrating the Golden Age of Detection in books and on screen
Books, reviews and more...
Life in Newcastle and beyond...
Feast your eyes on all the books that I have absolutely LOVED
Book reviews and random musings