Characters – 4/5
Plot – 3/5
Style – 5/5
Science – 5/5
Overall – 4/5
“Inhumanity is part of humanity as much as suffering is a part of stories. Cruelty is written in the human script.”
More science than science fiction, THE HUMAN SCRIPT: A NOVEL IN 23 CHROMOSOMES is an incredibly intelligent, literary exploration of what humanity means in a world so obsessed with hard facts and scientific proof. I truly felt like I was learning whilst reading THE HUMAN SCRIPT, but most importantly, it gave me a new appreciation and understanding of a variety of topics that I’d never even considered venturing into before.
I find it difficult to discuss the plot of THE HUMAN SCRIPT in complete isolation to its characters, ideas and settings, as the interplay between all of these factors is really what drives the story forward. To try to talk about the plot in any depth would be to ruin the experience of the entire book and to pinpoint Chris’ narrative down to just a few defining moments is practically impossible.
With a mind that is constantly churning over possibilities, connections and events, Chris explores everyday life with an eye that searches for meaning in every single detail he can comprehend. If you like your novels to have very clear-cut conflict/resolution from chapter to chapter, I would suggest that this isn’t the novel for you.
THE HUMAN SCRIPT is fairly heavy on a wide range of thought-provoking topics. We are taken on a whirlwind tour of complex ideologies in philosophy, biology, art, anthropology and religion from the very first page to the very last. Ultimately, this novel is the bemused consideration of human nature – a study on the space inside our protagonist’s head and the circumstances that happen to him and because of him.
The parallels between Chris and his brother are both fascinating and enlightening – the more I read the more I began to understand the context of Chris’ musings on nature vs nurture and cause vs effect. The twins are genetically identical, but born on different days under different signs, they have lived lives that are both the same and entirely different. The development of Chris’ character is integral to the storyline and his arc is executed to perfection. He has a sharp mind and enjoys dissecting his experiences to internalise and justify his feelings, changing ever so imperceptively but dramatically as his life takes the usual twists and turns.
Our second narrator is an omnipotent and manipulative unknown third person. He interjects occasionally, describing how the moments Chris finds himself in were constructed and came into being, pushing his thoughts into the story and even directly challenging the reader with his twisted philosophy (“So who is cruel? You, cruel reader, you are. You.”). This narrator adds a dimension of detachment to the story that becomes increasingly significant as it progresses.
I feel that talking specifics would spoil such a painstakingly crafted narrative and I’ve deliberately tried to keep my review short on details for this reason. A literary/non-fiction hybrid, I would urge you to give this one a go even if it doesn’t sound like your usual reads.
THE HUMAN SCRIPT is a novel that absolutely begs to be shared and discussed and argued over endlessly so please let me know if you’ve already read this book! I would love to talk to people about the themes and philosophical theories considered throughout the novel and learn even more.