Thursday, January 03, 2008

2. A Wrinkle in the Skin by John Christopher

A Wrinkle in the Skin pictureI confused John Christopher with Christopher Priest when I picked this up. No harm done since both are great writers of around the same age and touching upon very similar genres. John Christopher is best known for his children's sci-fi books, like The Tripods trilogy which we read and loved in elementary school. I see that he has a very long career as an adult sci-fi writer before that, as well as just being very prolific under a bunch of other pseudonyms as well.

A Wrinkle in the skin (reviewed earlier at Mt. Benson) is actually at the tale end of his adult writings. It explores (and perhaps concludes) similar areas as No Blade of Grass. It's about a widower who lives on the island of Guernsey (a British Crown Dependency in the channel, closer to Normandy) growing tomatoes. There is talk of terrible earthquakes around the globe and within 5 pages the narrator is in one. But this is a mega, mega earthquake. I don't want to give away how big it is, but I was quite surprised at certain points. The story is about him making his way back to Sussex to find his daughter who was at school there. Along the way he struggles with the dangers of the new, ruined world. The chief danger, as usual, is other humans.

I found this book to be a page-turner. I was anxious to find out what would happen next and there is a strong feeling of threat throughout. His descriptions of the devastation are vivid and captivating. Also, the hero is cool. He's removed and semi-competent. There is none of the writers' crutches of frustratingly stupid behaviour. I was so enjoying the post-apocalyptic scenario that I didn't realize that I was also becoming caught up in the emotional journey of the hero and his relationships with the other survivors around him. I ended up finding the book very satisfying overall.

An excellent addition to the post-war British PA genre. Note the scanned cover of the edition I found.


dsgran said...

2 books in 3 days???? I'm not f*ing with you this year! ;)

OlmanFeelyus said...

work is starting slow. Plus, I had a plane ride home.

Unknown said...

Nice! I really enjoyed this book. The part where he is crossing the dried up sea bed from his island to the mainland is particularly vivid.

Doc said...

Sounds good. I'll have to find a copy. I loved the Tripods trilogy too. The prequel, published quite a bit later, I believe, is also a satisfactory read. (The Day the Tripods Came is, I think, the title.) I would only recommend it for fans of the trilogy, though. I have a book of Christopher's, The Burning Lands, on my shelf for this year. I believe it also has a PA twist to the setting.