I found Card's depiction of the inner life of children (albeit exceptional children) a little unconvincing and too adult-like. That said, I enjoyed th...moreI found Card's depiction of the inner life of children (albeit exceptional children) a little unconvincing and too adult-like. That said, I enjoyed this book, most especially the unexpectedly spiritual wrap-up to the whole thing. In fact, the way this book ends (which I won't give away here) is possibly may favorite part about the whole experience of reading Ender's Game. (less)
As is always my experience with Huxley, I got a lot out of his thoughts and intellectual work but found his actual writing quite clunky. Still,this wa...moreAs is always my experience with Huxley, I got a lot out of his thoughts and intellectual work but found his actual writing quite clunky. Still,this was a quick, easy read that I would recommend. His sarcasm and humor always keep me reading, even when the prose does not.
The conceit of the novel is that it is a deceased hermit's screenplay, which is set after the Third World War. Most of the world has bombed itself into hell-on-earth where the devil, Belial, is worshipped, human reproduction is strictly controlled, radiation causes deformities in babies who are "liquidated" at birth, and women are persecuted as the filthy vessels of such deformities.
Of course, what the novel is really about is a meditation on what Huxley perceives to be human kind's dual nature; that is our ape-self and essential self. I personally reject the idea our animal natures house our worst traits, but I nevertheless appreciate his commentary on the ultimately destructive and inhumane nature of "progress" and nationalism. And his image of a baboon in evening dress singing "Give me detumescence" will follow (and amuse me, creepily) for a long time. In my head she sounds like Marianne Faithful. Thanks, Al.(less)
I wish more books were written on this topic and I wish more of the vacuous people in the world would read them. This is a well-written and extremely...moreI wish more books were written on this topic and I wish more of the vacuous people in the world would read them. This is a well-written and extremely engaging account of the author/narrator's friendship with a man who, after horrifying experiences in WWI, rejected his upperclass American upbringing to find his own answers to the great big questions that most Americans don't actually even ask (because they have ready-made answers provided for them by family, religion and state), questions about the existence or non-existence of God, about what endows a life with meaning and what is superficial pretense, and about how humans are so easily distracted by trying to fit in and by the pursuit of god-money and objects. I am a sucker for interwar lit anyway, but this book really is particularly compelling. It's written in an interesting voice - Maugham as Maugham is the narrator, and yet it is a fictionalized account, but there is a really nice intimacy established through the author speaking to you in something at least made to resemble his own voice. And Larry Darrell, the spiritually questing subject of this book, is engaging and endlessly sympathetic. He provides a clear and evident contrast to the other characters in the novel who are obsessed with their money and station in the world and to whom Larry's rejection of all that seems so incomprehensible. I guess that's all I have to say about it. Read it!(less)