Friday, 3 July 2009

Review: Primal by Robin Baker

Blurb from back cover
A group of naked and ragged survivors emerges one year after going missing on a field trip to an uninhabited Pacific island. All but one of the women have conceived and three of the party, including the group leader, are missing and presumed dead. In the glare of the world’s media, each survivor sticks to the same unconvincing version of events.

Through one man’s determined investigation the true story emerges of what happened on the island – a Lord of the Flies scenario of regression, tribalism and suspected murder. But are there signs of something more monstrous at work to confirm the group leader’s theory that there is no beast more savage than man?

When Virgin Books tweeted that they had some copies available to review, I jumped at the chance. Partly because I had been wanting to review some fiction for a change, but also because it sounded like it could well be a good read.

And it was a good read. Kept me turning the pages, though not as quickly as some. It was also a bit disturbing, intentionally so, I would say. There’s a lot of sex in the book and most of it not the fruits of candlelight and dinner. And, as the blurb promises, there is definitely plenty of regression.

The structure of the book is interesting, being presented as a book compiled by someone not on the island from a combination of first person narratives, sketches and medical notes, as well as a certain amount of surmising.

There is a mystery, though one I worked out fairly quickly. I do read a lot of crime fiction, so can perhaps spot the signs more quickly than someone who doesn’t. I don’t think the mystery was really the main point of the book, so this doesn’t necessarily distract from the overall read, though it was a little disappointing for me, personally.

The book did make me think a fair bit – about society and civilisation and whether what happened in the book could or would happen in real life. These thoughts were somewhat unsettling, but interesting nonetheless. I have to say that I hope that it is not a true reflection of human nature.

Would I recommend it? As long as you’re not easily offended/disturbed and are after a quick read that makes you think a bit, then, yes. I wouldn’t buy it for any of my teenage relatives, though. Nor for my mum!

I am posting twice today so, in order that you don’t miss anything, here is a link to Rosemary’s questionnaire about her Mummy and Daddy.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, but I'm quite easily disturbed so thanks for the warning!