I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are some books you read (Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived In The Castle springs to mind), which, despite having been written before I was born, I have never read until late in life. Shamefully, Flowers For Algernon joins that list.
This is a cleverly written, slyly designed book, perfectly judged and executed. The format expertly engages the reader’s attention and emotion, turns their expectations, attitudes and opinions against them, and tells a relatively simple story with aplomb, plumbing every depth of feeling along the way.
The beginning was upsetting, the middle was uncomfortable, and the ending was simply heartbreaking. A tour de force.
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