The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Length: 103 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
This novel is set on a mysterious island; a place that was heard to be once inhabited by a small group but was now abandoned. A man on the run flees to this island. But there’s something odd going on. He hears what sounds like footsteps. Then he sees some people. While he hides and tries not to be seen, he ends up exposing himself; but reactions are really odd. What’s going on?
The opening sentence is a great one:
“Today, on this island, a miracle happened: summer came ahead of time.“
That sentence is beautifully written, with a mysterious hook that makes you wonder – what does this mean? The first few pages grabbed me. But the further I read I found myself wanting to ditch it at different points and move on to something else to read. Yet I kept on with it. It had this odd mix of at once beautiful writing then next, short, less than engaging writing. I think this gave it an odd feel maybe.
As far as the story itself goes, I found this novella strange. There’s multiple elements to this story: partly science fiction, partly philosophical, partly mystery all with the element of romance thrown in. And I do think all those elements were weaved together fairly well. At times, it reminded me a bit of a Robinson Crusoe by Defoe meets Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro.
I felt in the dark for a good portion of the story but then things started being revealed and I began to piece together what was going on. By the end, I could see how this book might need a second reading and that second reading might be a better read. I admit, though, this first read was a bit disappointing. In the end it was just okay and I give it 3 stars.