Author: Daniel Defoe| Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure| Pages: 298
Robinson Crusoe is a fine Englishman living in England who cherishes a dream of going to the sea. Although his family does not support his idea, he flees nonetheless, on a ship to London. After two such trips, his ship gets captured by pirates and he serves as a slave in Africa. He escapes the slavery somehow, but on yet another journey, gets shipwrecked and finds himself stranded on Trinidad coasts.
He soon realises that he is the only human on the island and thereby believes his is the ‘King’ of the place. Then starts his journey of twenty eight long years of adventure and living on the solitude island. He is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being.
Did I only just read that book or walked myself through the island, the adventure and the fun of it all?
As Robinson quoted,
“And thus I left the island, the nineteenth of December as I found by the ship’s account, in the year 1686, after I had been upon it eight and twenty years, two months, and 19 days; being delivered from this the second captivity the same day of the month that I first made my escape in the barco-longo, from among the Moors of Sallee.
In this vessel, after a long voyage, I arrived in England, the eleventh of June, in the year 1687, having been thirty and five years absent.”
And the journey of Robinson Crusoe still does not end.
Moving on with the review.
The core purpose perhaps, with this book, was to establish in the minds of readers what freedom means under certain circumstances and just how life-altering the worst kind of challenges can be. Finding yourself although leashed by the reins of adventure, and creating a new identity which is bound to the mercy of time, are other important themes prevalent through the prose.
The narration is pretty evocative, and there are times, you wish to be a part of the narrator’s journey, the thrill and danger of it all. What doesn’t a chord however, at times, are the ever detailed descriptions of his day-to-day activities which gave me an impression that the author was merely trying to fill his pages. ‘Unnecessary’ was the least I could think of because the book was entertaining despite those bits.
Robinson Crusoe is travel fiction, in a way, and the journey is thrilling in parts and sometimes, drags you into monotonous boredom through the island that Crusoe toured and inhabited. Good part being, Defoe describes the intricateness of the journey with such simplicity that you cannot stop but feel that you are a part of the island too; not just reading it but living it.
This book reminded me several times of one of my favorite Tom Hanks movies – Cast Away. Also, since I was aware of the fact that this book was influenced by the life of a Scottish castaway sailor, Alexander Selkirk, who inhabited Pacific Island for 4 years, made the emotions associated with this book a bit more real, if you know what I mean. To think what all a man can do and get down to, in times of trials, eh?
Finally, I would feel the review incomplete if I do not include the catchiest Crusoe quote,
Those people cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them because they see and covet what He has not given them.
Well, all I can say is, this book will – at times, hook you, drag you some, make you yawn and curse its slow pace, and sometimes make you run to not lose track with the fast-paced bits of it, and I felt, it is all worth the effort. And for the last time, this isn’t a children’s book; even if it was in school that most of us were introduced to it.
You can buy your copy of ‘Robinson Crusoe’ by clicking on this link.
Have you read ‘Robinson Crusoe’? How did you like it? Share your thoughts in comments below.
Happy reading till we meet next.
Until then, carpe diem! 🙂
© Asha Seth