The Lost World, publ. 1912
When I got down to reading this book, I had known Arthur Conan Doyle as “Father of Sherlock Holmes” and was rather surprised to find out the he exploited yet another of my favourite streaks in reading, fantasy and science. Of course, I am speaking of myself of many years ago, before I got actually familiar with the Late-Victorian writers’ strive for the fantastic and supernatural, clad in the scientific, which is so characteristic of the period and widely present in all Doyle’s colleagues’ works.
The Lost World easily became my favourite book. I liked the characters very much. Their diversity is what makes them so attractive, in fact. I seem to remember that at a particular stage of my young life, I have had different favorite characters from among the cast. Lord Roxton was my first favourite due to his manly characteristics and my easy-to-impress girlish age. Later on, the two professors took the top place in my grading, changing rank from time to time, owing to the scientific bubble which I adored during my late teenage. I’m afraid Ed Malone never hit the top, and that is largely due to his sick devotion to Gladys, who was “simply no good” as I had somehow felt since the very beginning.
The Lost World is, in fact, a story of a quest for oneself. The characters go into the wild, in search of evidence for the existence of pre-historic biological species, and, in the end, each of them discovers something about himself (no ladies in the story). They all return changed people, especially young Malone, who sobers up from his infatuation.
On the whole, The Lost World is a wonderfully-written adventure story, which will captivate your attention. It is a marvellous example of the balance between literary masterpiece and enjoyable book.
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