Another one on the every growing, or at least it seems it is, Uni reading.
However, I enjoyed this decidedly more than Utopia. Looking Backwards follows Julian West, a very rich and well off man who was alive in the mid 1800's. Arguably, his darkest secret was his inability to sleep, insomnia so severe that only via hypnosis could he sleep. The worst happens and whilst he is in his bunker under the influence of the sleep hypnosis, the house burns down and his faithful servant is unable to wake him having been killed in the fire. Flash forward to the year 2000 where Julian finds himself awoken by Dr. Leete. The man now living in his household.
This novel was again, very dense. Many of the Utopian novels read more like manifestos than novels. But I did enjoy the plot of this one. I found the use of sleep as a means to jump time so clever. In displacing Julian from his time Bellamy was able to use him as a perspective through which the failings of his own time could be explicitly put down on paper but without the repercussions should he have merely criticised anything without this guise. Many of the ideas put forth in Looking Backward were very innovative, my favourite being how everyone had access to music. Think radio but a very archaic version.
In general I found this novel enjoyable, I liked the characters but it was still a bit of a difficult read.
Name: Looking Backwards
Author(s): Edward Bellamy
Publisher: Oxford World Classics
Have you read Looking Backward?
What did you think?
Thank-you for reading,