The Midwich Cuckoos
This is the second John Wyndham novel I’ve read to my daughter – the first being The Chrysalids, which was one of my favourite books in my early teens. My eleven-year-old is far more intellectual than I was at her age, and can cope with the concepts and ideas raised by Wyndham, while also enjoying the stories.
In fact, she enjoyed this novel far more than I did. I have valued the shared experience of reading it with her and the discussions it has provoked, but left to my own devices, there is no way I would have finished this book.
Although the philosophical, ethical and political ideas he discusses in his works are still very relevant, I found the storytelling and dialogue very old fashioned. The way he uses long speeches to move the plot forward drove me mad. In fact, in this particular novel, there is very little ‘action’. It is all talk, talk, talk.
The characterisation is so poor that I found it difficult to tell who is speaking and the portrayal of women is utterly sexist. If my world view was based on this book then I’d believe that the female of the species is hysterical and tearful and all men like the sound of their own voices. (My daughter found this hilarious and lampooned the novel brilliantly).
The idea is wonderful and it has left me wanting to watch The Village of the Damned, but if you want a more enthusiastic review, then you’ll have to read my daughter’s.