The Trouble with Lichen


Author: John Wyndham

In all honesty I picked up this book in a second hand store simply because the author is John Wyndham, and I love his works, which includes the famous The Day of the Triffids. I’m happy I did because I love this story! First published in 1960, the copy I have was re-printed in 1971 and does have the coolest cover I must say.

The Trouble with Lichen follows the story of Diana, a bright young biochemist who doesn’t fit in with the quaint ideas of her age. Including her mother’s wish that she have a more normal life, but as her father rightly points out, brilliant people don’t tend to have normal lives. After graduating, Diana is accepted by the scientific research institute, Darr House, a kind of Campus style facility where employees are expected to live and work together. While there she accidentally discovers a lichen, an algae type organism that prevents ageing.  After having a falling out with the head of Darr House, Francis Saxover, Diana takes her findings and disappears, using her discovery to open a beauty house named Nefertiti Ltd. Everything seems to be going well until dark forces find out her secret and decide they want it for themselves.

One of my favourite things about this book is the writing. John Wyndham seems to have a wonderful way of writing for women that is both pragmatic and empathetic. He seemed to have an innate understanding of the challenges women faced at a time when having your own bank account was the exception rather than the rule.

Read this if you like: Science and the beauty industry, the idea of never growing old, running away from your future.

Rated: 3.5 scoops out of a possible 5 flavours.