Read Castaway by James Gould Cozzens Free Online


Ebook Castaway by James Gould Cozzens read! Book Title: Castaway
The author of the book: James Gould Cozzens
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 544 KB
Edition: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P
Date of issue: October 1st 1967
ISBN: 0151159971
ISBN 13: 9780151159970

Read full description of the books Castaway:

I don't know how I became aware of this slim book but it's sat on my to-read shelf for years, awaiting the time when I felt like exploring it.

Most certainly the basic synopsis drew me in - "man retreats to department store after unnamed catastrophe and hopes to survive there" - here we have, from 1934, a plot that precedes both John Collier's brilliant short story "Evening Primrose" (1940) and George Romero's monumentally significant film DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) - and all three of which, while they spin in different directions, can't help but make a commentary on consumer society and man's place in it. It's a little trope I like to call "at play in the fields of commerce" and one look at our current society will show that no one listened to Cozzens or Collier or Romero...

This is a very simple book, in a way, although written in a style of its time that may seem unnecessarily cluttered to those who demand action through-lines in their plots. It is as already said - on the first page, a man forces his way into the basement of a multi-floor department store and, after reconnoitering, sets up house there. Something has happened in the outside world but we'll never know what (the first line gives only the briefest hint at some kind of immediate detonation or massive shock) and that's not really that important. Around our Mr. Lecky sits everything he has always needed and, more importantly, everything he has always wanted - whether he needs it or not - and now he only need figure out how to use important items he's never used before (how do you load a gun?), how to preserve his holdings and, eventually, defend them.

Everything in the book happens on a small scale and (understandably so) we see it from Mr. Lecky's sole vantage point, privy as we are to his confusion, hope and fears. Since the novel occurs on such a small scale, it would be ruinous to say more about how the book progresses but remind yourself that it's a rumination on man, mankind and the philosophical underpinnings of individuality and society - and how some actions cannot be taken back. There will be quotes posted, in time, but if you're looking for something a little different, you could do much worse than this interesting, contemplative short work.

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