zondag 17 april 2016

"The Wonderful Visit" by H. G. Wells

"'A man!' said the Angel, clasping his forehead; 'a man in the maddest black clothes and without a feather upon him. Then I was not deceived. I am indeed in the Land of Dreams!'"

There have been sightings of a mysterious animal, which is mistaken for a strange, large bird. The vicar of Siddermorton, an ornithologist, manages to shoot the bird, but then finds out it is in fact an Angel. Not a religious angel, but a creature that lives in a parallel word along with Griffins, Dragons, Jabberwocky and Satyrs - a world that knows no pain, no death, no hate. The Angel has accidentally arrived in our world, which it has always believed to be a myth. The vicar nurses the Angel back to health and introduces it to the people of the village. But then neither he nor the Angel have quite expected the hostile reception it will get from the people.

A satire on Victorian society, the book uses the Angel to look at human society from an outside point of view. Innocence is opposed to the close-mindedness and outright hostility of mankind. As a novel, it certainly doesn't have the power of Wells' more famous works like "The Time Machine" and "The War of the Worlds", it's certainly not as exciting, and there's not really much to the story - which would explain why "The Wonderful Visit" is largely forgotten today. But read it as a modern fairy tale, or an allegory, and you'll find it's still a pretty good read. There's clearly a lot more to H.G. Wells than his science fiction classics, but there are probably others you could try before this one.

Author: H.G. Wells
Title: The Wonderful Visit
Publisher: House of Stratus
Year: 2002 (orig. 1895)
Number of pages: 172 p.
ISBN: 0755104293

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