Published by Picador
Explaining to people what this book was about produced some strange responses so I can only imagine what it must have been like for Dylan Evans when he told friends and family about what he planned to do.
In 2006, he left his job in a high-tech robotics lab, moved to the Scottish Highlands and founded a community called The Utopia Experiment.
There, together with an eclectic assortment of volunteers, he tried to live out a scenario of global collapse, free from modern technology and comforts.
The book details his journey from thinking of the idea while in Mexico and his enthusiasm for the project, through his dive into depression, his stay at a psychiatric hospital to eventually his conclusions about the whole experience.
Evans is the first to admit now that the experiment didn’t go as he had hoped or planned – who would ever want to be detained under the Mental Health Act? – and what is great about his book is that he never shies away from the negative and more unsuccessful events that occurred during the year-long project.
Criticism from volunteers and even journalists reporting on the story are included and discussed and his own thoughts about why it went wrong are explored.
I loved Dylan’s ‘voice’ in the book too and some of his observations are
just wonderful. As well as being interesting and informative, he manages to inject humour into his writing. And he is honest, which for me was the book’s greatest triumph.
Think about a book about the possible end of the world and you might think it would be depressing and filled with heavy, hard to comprehend, philosophical and scientific arguments.
But what The Utopia Experiment manages to do is cover those important arguments in a comprehensible and very interesting and compelling way.