Eva by Peter Dickinson

by stephenpalmersf

I was disappointed by this book. I’m a big fan of Peter Dickinson – his The Weathermonger is among my all-time favourite books – but this novel was not terribly engaging, and even in places rather dull, despite the potential of the scenario. In a nutshell: Eva, a girl of about 13, has a terrible accident, and the only way to save her is to “implant” her into a chimp body. The novel then details what follows.

I think the main problem I had with the book was the old-fashioned writing style, which had none of the zip and zing of the author’s other works. It was all tell and no show; and the tell was dull and in places rather vague. (I found myself increasingly perplexed by the rapturous reviews given by other readers.)

The novel in fact is more of a satire on advertising, money and media than anything else. There is little on the human/chimp “interface,” and what there is could best be described as trite. First published in 1988, it seems to be more of a reaction against gross Capitalism and the whole ‘eighties “loadsamoney” culture, with specific barbs against advertising and media manipulation.

A shame. Still, Dickinson remains one of the all-time great children’s authors.