Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Speed of Dark - Book Review

I'd heard that The Speed of Dark, by Elizabeth Moon, was a rewrite of Flowers of Algernon by Daniel Keyes, only with an autistic man rather than a mentally handicapped one. In one respect this is true. At the beginning of the novel the protagonist of The Speed of Dark is pressured by his company to be a subject testing a drug ostensibly designed to get rid of autism. But the novel itself is about so much more, to the point that the fear of having to participate in this medical procedure almost takes a back seat to all of the other issues facing Lou Arrendale. Issues like: what is normal? What is the nature of personality (if he has this treatment will he cease to be himself? Will he still like the same things? Will he be able to do the work he enjoys?). What is the speed of Dark? (Is it the absence of light or does it travel faster than light, thereby arriving first?)

Told mostly, but not exclusively, from Lou's point of view, we get a very well researched idea of how autistic people see the world. A point of view that helps to broaden your own as a reader and human being.

It's a great novel. Well written and with an ending you won't see coming.


The Brillig Blogger said...

I'm glad you were able to catch up with this!

Jessica Strider said...

It was on my 'to read' list for years. It's definitely worth the time. I'd highly recommend it!