Wells, best known for his War of the Worlds and The Invisible Man, offers eight short stories in this volume.
These eight stories were better than I remembered them. In these stories, Wells wrote mainly about the time he lived in, and he is very capable of bringing the reader back to the time and helping them to see just what it was like. From a historical perspective, fascinating.
The plots are intriguing, and the characters are believable. Unlike Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who I think was only able to bring Holmes and Watson to life and found it difficult to write about other characters, Wells creates numerous characters that come alive.
Even the Country of the Blind, which I never liked much before, was interesting not just as a story but as a provocative statement on culture, religion and science.
I loved this book and highly recommend it.
The first The Door in the Wall raises questions about the meaning of life and satisfaction. Wallace was very smart and in later life very successful. His mother died when he was young and his father was too busy to play with him. He was very lonely as a child. He saw a green door in a white wall when he was five years old. He opened the door, entered, and discovered a warm friendly world with weed-less flowers and two friendly animals that played lovingly with him. There was also a beautiful woman who walked with him, held his hand and talked with him. There were other people there who were friendly and children his own age with whom he played. The woman brought him back outside the door, although he was reluctant to return. He cried at his loss of the world behind the green door.
His father punished him when he returned home for being late and whenever he tried to tell his father about the world behind the green door, but he never gave up his longing to return behind the door.
He saw the green door again during his school days, but did not enter because he didnt want to come to school late. He told his school mates about the green door but they mocked him. When he was seventeen, he saw it for the third time, while driving to Oxford to college. He did not stop his cab and enter the door because the delay would have caused him to lose his scholarship. Similarly, he didnt enter when he saw it a fourth time because of a girl and a chance for job advancement.
He told his story to his friend when he was in his thirties. He also told him that he had seen the door again three times this past year. He said he was tired of work and saw no meaning in it. He wanted to enter the door the next time that he saw it. He was found dead the next day on the street.
Reading the tale, we ask, did he enter the green door in the white wall after leaving his friend? What really is behind the door? Is this a parable and, if so, what is its message? Does the ending tell us that the mans yearning was unnatural and only leads to death? What is natural? What did the man miss that made his life unsatisfactory? Can we gain insight into Wells tale by comparing it to Franz Kafkas Before the Law, another story of a man who stood all of his life before a door, which he could have entered?
The seven other stories are equally intriguing. In the last, The Country of the Blind, Nunez stumbles into a country that was cut off from civilization for centuries, where all the inhabitants are blind, where the people developed their own culture and had their own ideas about the world that derived from their blindness. He discovers that the proverb in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, is patently wrong. The opposite is true. Is Wells telling us that we live in a world of the blind that is turning us from what is proper, into slaves? Is there a relationship between the message of this last story and the first?
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