Thursday, 27 June 2013

Origin - Jessica Khoury

*4.5 stars* 

For a longest time, the book sat in my To-Be-Read shelf and finally out of boredom I decided to pick it up. And what a book it was! I so did not expect what the experience turned out to be.

I don't like calling books perfect, after all 'Perfect is as Perfect Does'. There is no such thing as perfect, as Pia learned the hard way, but this was pretty close call. It had wild speculations on future-that-could-be, the role of morality and our inner selves, of growing up and disappointment, and moreover, the inner purity and goodness that cannot be suppressed. The surroundings was well built and lively, the peace set well, not once did  have a feeling of growing tired. The characters were human, meaning life-like, not all-good.

We meet 17 year old Pia, who her whole life has spent in Little Cam, a hidden science camp in the middle of Amazon. As a result of decades of experiments Pia has reached the highest level oh human evolution, perfection, immortality. A girl, who with her perfect memory has grown up reading about genetics and solving math problems, has no connections to the outside world. But with new faces in the tightly guarded camp and coincidences, Pias whole world is turned upside down.

I loved how Pia was struggling with the question of immortality, morality and the biggest question of all, what does it mean to be a human? It felt real, seeing her dreams and understandings changing with her. The characters were well established, and I could follow the mental struggles between what you have known your whole life to be true and that little voice inside whispering there has to be more. We see the cold-blooded scientist ready for everything in the name of science. How it destroys lives or creates lives.

And I just couldn't pass on commenting the awesomeness that were the natives. I might be over-romanticizing the 'noble savage', but as a vivid admirer or anthropology, I have a soft spot for the "traditional" people. I do think it describes well our society, when so much could be saved by accepting the simple truths that have been known for the natives for generations. But it is degrading for a highly educated scientist to take the local myths and stories as truth. So, somehow it becomes widely accepted for the name of science doing things that in other contexts might be completely unheard of. Again. Where do you draw the line? Just how far can you push the limits in the name of a greater good?

In conclusion, this book touched me, assuring that once again there IS hope for the future, even if it happens to be fictional assurance - we don't need colorful explosions, violent passion or loud music and alcohol for a book to be good.