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“You Shall Know Them” (1952) by Vercors

This book blew my mid to the extent anything I say about it will be banal and never do the thing justice. Suffice to report that it’s the best novel I’ve read in ages. 


Here’s the basic idea; get out and get yersen a copy pronto. 


Written and set in the 1950’s, an anthropologist joins an expedition to PNG and in the jungle they come across what may be the missing link between humans and our primate cousins. 


He inseminates a female (turkey baster just in case you were wondering), brings the mother to be to England where she gives birth. He registers, baptises and then kills the offspring before proceeding to call the police and demand to stand trial for murder. 


What follows is just a fantastic debate on the nature of what it means to be human seen from multiple points of view. 


An absolute “must read”. Geddin. I just love it when this happens. Perfect.



About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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