Sunday, 30 August 2009

Book Review: By the Waters of Babylon

By the Waters of Babylon, by Stephen Vincent Benét

Here's one for you: do 25 pages make for a long short story, a novella, or a really short novel? Since I just cant decide, I'm going to stick with the appropriate-for-an-essay-but-horribly-pretentious-in-a-blog-post word "text". That way, I can't go wrong.

Also, I can't resist thinking about Boney M or the Bible, whenever the name of this text is written, spoken or read aloud. I suspect this is intentional, though the association is more likely to be with the latter. I'd love it if it were an allegory of Jamaican pop music, but alas, Benét was no such visionary.

Set in a type of post-apocalyptic United States, in a world which has forgotten its past, a young man undergoes a rite-of-passage, during which he ventures into the forbidden lands, where he discovers the truth but decides not to divulge it to his people, but rather encourage the rebuilding of a new civilisation. Sorry if I've spoilt it for you, but there you go: it is a risk which comes with reading book reviews.

There isn't really much more to say than that, really, apart from the fact that it is well-written, with the revelations coming at the end as not a surprise but a well-prepared-for and satisfying conclusion.

That is all.


  1. Hmm, I guess now I will have to wait for the movie and see if they added anything in that wasn't in the book.

  2. Earth calling Sanya? Update from out of España?

  3. Curious - The book is way too short to be adapted. They'd have to add a lot.

    Eduardo - I shall refer you to the latest posts. And here: