Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott

Source: Lit2Go (iTunesU link)
Length: Approx. 4 hours
Reader: Lorraine Montgomery

The book: Have you ever stopped to consider the world from another perspective? I don't just mean looking through the eyes of another culture, gender, or ethnic group, though that certainly is important to being a humane thinking member of society. I mean a perspective so alien and different, it requires travel to another dimension.

In Flatland, Abbott imagines life in two dimensions, where all people are geometric figures. Abbott satirizes his own Victorian class-conscious society by making different geometric shapes correspond to different classes and relegates women to mere line segments. Beyond the social satire, Flatland provides an excellent introduction to the concepts of geometry and multi-dimensional space, as the main character, a square, visits one dimensional Lineland in a dream, then is visited in turn by a sphere from Spaceland.  Considering life in different dimensions is a mind-bending exercise that opened my comprehension of the world and forced me to think about the possibilities of other worlds beyond this one.

Rating: 8 / 10

The reader: Montgomery proves an excellent tour guide to the world of Flatland. She has a pleasant American accent that is clear and engaging. Since the book is told from the perspective of a male, the voice doesn't quite fit with the narrator, but that's a minor quibble. Like all publications of Lit2Go, these recordings are provided by the University of Central Florida as part of a Florida Department of Education grant. If you'd like an alternate reading of the same book, the LibriVox version of Flatland  (zipped mp3) read by Ruth Golding is equally good.

(Entered in the Book Review Wednesday contest at Cym Lowell. Follow the link for reviews of other books by various bloggers)


Anonymous said...

I just want to give you a great, big, heartfelt thank you for bringing audio gems like these to my attention. :) Thanks to boredom and eye strain, I've turned to audiobooks for some entertainment, and your suggestions are always fantastic. :)

I also wanted to take a second to recommend a story I found a few weeks back and thoroughly enjoyed: Snow-Blind, by Katharine Newlin Burt, and read beautifully by Roger Melin.


Hopefully you'll enjoy it as much as I did, and thanks again for doing what you do. :)

Listener said...

Wow! I've never heard of this book or the writer. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

I'm glad you're enjoying the blog.

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries said...

This sounds like a book I'd appreciate more on audio than print. The premise sounds wonderfully original. Thanks for the review!

(hopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Review Party)

Elizabeth said...

Sounds creative....thanks for the review.

Stopping by from Cym Lowell's book review giveaway.



Krispian said...

Exceelent review.

I would like to say. Have a look at http://crafting-a-life.com/craftlit/?page_id=1405 for flat land. Heather Ordover provides litrature analsyses of this book as well. I think Craft lit is worth a listen.