Saturday, December 30, 2023

Our Hideous Progeny


An excellent read for this strange, somewhat patched together and unnatural time between Christmas and the New Year.

Set in England of the 1850's, the novel takes inspiration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and from the ferment of scientific interest in recently discovered fossils of dinosaurs. A third strand in the tale is the status of women (inferior.) 

The novel's protagonist, another Mary, is a feisty, intelligent woman, a scientist whose work is often preempted by her feckless husband, also a scientist. Oh, and she is the great-niece of Victor Frankenstein himself, and has discovered lost papers of his with information that may, with industry and luck, allow her to repeat his experiment in animating dead flesh.

Challenged by growing poverty, her all but useless husband, an unwelcome and predatory associate, and the strictures imposed upon females, Mary is indomitable. I cheered for her throughout. (She put me in mind of yet another Mary-- Laurie R. King's Mary Russell.)

As the novel reached its climax, I found my sympathies strongly engaged in a rather unexpected quarter--which I can't discuss for fear of spoilers. 

This is an odd but engaging read.


Barbara Rogers said...

Oh yes, another book to enjoy in the grey days! Thanks!

Sandra Parshall said...

This sounds good.