Monday 13 July 2020

Review: The Warlow Experiment - the strangest book I have read this year

I've been really into my historical reads recently and taking part in some readalongs organised by Charlie from Otterly Bookish. This month's readalong was The Warlow Experiment and it's a bit of a difficult one to sum up really.


The Warlow Experiment is based on a real life advertisment that the author discovered offering £50 a year for the rest of their life to the person who would live in underground apartments for seven years with no daylight or human interaction and to let their hair and nails grow long - the word gross comes to mind on that one, and in this fictional story, it is Warlow that agrees to take part in that experiment.
Once I got 'in to it' if I can even call it that, I wanted to keep on reading but I'm just not sure I can say that it was an enjoyable read.
The writing, although clearly written in it's particular style to match that of the time, felt stilted and lacked emotion. There were some really shocking scenes in the book but because of the narrative, I felt like I was reading it from a great distance, so the emotional impact some of the scenes would have elicited from me, didn't even touch the surface. It also meant I was unable to form any sort of attachment or opnion on any of the characters apart from a rough dislike and neutrality for them. 
I would have prefered it if there had been more of focus around Warlow's experience in the underground apartments and the true impact of his experience. Instead this part of the story felt very rushed and we didn't actually get many chapters from Warlow's perspective. I felt like I learnt more about Powyss, the man who was conducting the experiment and the other characters above ground.
Overall bit of a strange one, but I really enjoyed discussing this with everyone in the readalong.
The Warlow Experiment is out now

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