H. G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau is the second novel I finished while on holiday. I have to admit it is a really short one (only 143 pages), but I just loved it.
After being the sole survivor of a shipwreck, Edward Prendick gets rescued by a passing boat. In this boat sits Montgomery who travels to the island of doctor Moreau to take the wild animals on the boat to him. Prendick finds out that Moreau uses these animals to vivisect and experiment on them. These animal-people live on the island and are bound to very strict rules to overcome their return to their original bestial natures. We’re only waiting for a rebellion.
This is a very haunting, spooky and gross novel. Even though it’s so small, Wells is able to create a dark atmosphere on a tiny island in just a few pages. From the very beginning I dreaded and I loved finding out more about this Doctor Moreau and his creations and every time we do find out more we realize the scope of the experiments and the gravity of the situation Edward finds himself in. It really is a disturbing novel, vividly and engagingly written, lots of details about the animals, very accessible and fluidly written.
By using the nephew’s letters to introduce the novel, the novel gets an air of authenticity, making it appear less like something made up. It really sets the feel of the novel.
The ending was really well thought-out. Prendick is trying to come to terms with the horror he’s survived but he has trouble distinguishing the human and the animal in people.
The themes are still relevant today; animal experimentation, genetics, eugenics, moral responsibility and cruelty.
I would have loved it even more if Wells would’ve added more pages.
I can honestly say I recommend this novel to anyone who likes to read something more than a contemporary novel.