Karla Butler's Reviews > Island

Island by Aldous Huxley
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May 28, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 14 to May 25, 2012

Aldous Huxley wrote this just before he died and to me this is his swan song. Island is set somewhere in the Pacific and depicts an Englishman's journey of spiritual enlightenment and self discovery. A progressive community takes mind-altering drugs and rejects conventional societal values for their own utopia. Everyone has the freedom to choose their own work, worship their own gods and have sex freely without the taboos of Western civilization. The community are exceptionally kind and open to Will Farnaby and show him that true happiness is found when you embrace life to the full and learn to love yourself and mankind.

Unfortunately, the despotic Colonel Dipa has other plans. The Island is plentiful in natural oil and already, power hungry capitalists are hoping to exploit this nirvana for their own dastardly ends. Aldous Huxley and others of his generation were deeply saddened by the state of the world after the Second World War. Images of brainwashed nazis and the rampant materialism in post-war America are interwoven into this tale as a warning that mankind will ultimately end destroying all that is good and true in the world.

Aldous Huxley must have known that this was going to be his last book as death seems to be a major theme. Will Farnaby learns that death does not have to be depressing or traumatic, it can be a celebration of someone's life as they take a journey into the unknown. I think Huxley must have felt that he too was ready to embark on that last chapter of his life...

Island is a beautifully written book and I would definitely recommend it.
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