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Facial Justice

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The dystopian society that emerges after World War Three is based on a collective sense of guilt. Citizens of this new world, officially labelled 'delinquents' by their Dictator, are named after murderers and are obliged to wear sackcloth and ashes. Individualism is stamped out. Privilege, which might arouse envy, is energetically discouraged.

Thus it is no surprise to fin
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published December 1960 by Hamish Hamilton (first published 1960)
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3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  173 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Apr 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting dystopian novel based around an idea of everybody being equal, nobody looking above their station and attempting to eradicate envy or "Bad E". Parts of the eradication is by formalising standards of peoples faces, mainly women and follows the main character through this world. At times brutal and incredibly well written, the world is claustrophobic and creepy. It was enjoyable to read although seemed to lack something that I can't put my finger on. Certainly one for fans of dystop ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: distopici
Visto che siamo in clima elezioni... "Facial Justice" è una distopia sui generis, scritta alla fine degli anni '50 e pubblicata nel 1960, che possiamo leggere grazie a questa elegante edizione LiberiLibri.

Dopo la Terza Guerra Mondiale, la popolazione è drasticamente ridotta a 20milioni di persone. La radioattività dell' ambiente si traduce in un eterno mese di marzo, grigio, malsano e ventoso, che costringe le persone a vivere sottoterra, per poi uscire allo scoperto solo seguendo l'istinto curi
Jessica O'Toole
As a New Year treat I spent yesterday evening and NYE evening reading again. It is still frighteningly prevalent, and I hope, as the novel ends, the West becomes a more logical and less emotionally pathetic place.

It's a real shame Hartley is dead, I would have loved to be able to tell him just how important this book has become in my life.

Cheers all to a happy new reading year!
I am obsessed with this book. I think L.P. Hartley might well have been a secret genius. I'm reading it again.
Aaron Haspel
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the most forthright examination of envy, referred to in the book as Bad E or Bad Egg (Equality is Good E), in all of English literature. It takes place in a future inspired, if that is the word, by the positive mania for equality of Britain's Labor Government in the 1950s. Envy, in Hartley's dystopia, is managed not by punishing the envious, but by eliminating anything that might cause envy. It is his profound insight to make causing envy, not envy itself, the crime.

The novel's title re
Written in the 1950s and set in a dystopian future, this was an interesting read, a world apart from L P Hartley's more famous work, The Go Between. I particularly enjoyed the location (Cambridge and the Fens) and the development of the main character, Jael, as she grows in confidence and takes matters into her own hands. Hartley deals with several issues that still apply to our 21st-century world, not least of which: egalitarianism leading to the dumbing-down of culture, the power of fashion an ...more
Melanie Williams
This dystopian novel by L.P. Hartley is surprising and maintains relevance for today's world - for instance, the growth of social media has led to some people aiming at the same particular look. My favourite section of the story was the trip to Ely; this was a highlight and had a suggestion of pagan responses to the surviving Christian symbol. I felt that the story and characters needed filling out, (though the character of Jael is feisty), but on the whole I was intrigued.
I recently bought a copy of this off a Cambridge street vendor, and only partially because the title sounds a bit skeezy.

The story is about Jael 97, a woman whose alpha-ranked looks have caused enough envy among her peers to make her consider having an artificial beta face fitted. Her post World War III society is governed by a mysterious dictator, whose seemingly arbitrary commands seem intended to keep everyone equal in mediocrity. When one of the dictator's decisions affects Jael in an unexpe
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: british-authors
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Flora (Ludacris)
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars

When I first found the book on the bookshelf, it didn't look appealing. Boy was I wrong. Hartley spun the story beautifully, with his beautiful, clear usage of the English language. It's not much a romance novel, but more about the society the story was set in. I have always enjoyed descriptive and detailed paragraphs. This book was the epitome of it. Despite not having much plot, I still thoroughly enjoyed the story that circled around Jael's character development, changes in mindset as
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Time has not served this novel well. It is more of an essay on the period it was written than a true post-apocalptic novel, and it reads poorly. Interesting insights are built up and then flounder, or are put aside for no particular reason. The disjointed plot is bogged down by statements and questions which advance nothing other than speculation. Jael - the main character - undergoes a curious personal ignominy which never really feels relevant to the (faceless) multitudes. In fact, poor charac ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
An interesting dystopian novel that focuses more on community dynamics than specifics of an oppressive government. I found myself enjoying it until the final few chapters, where it seemed to suddenly die out in a predictable and disappointing manner disregarding any prior characterisation, as if the author had suddenly decided he had had enough. I wouldn't be surprised to discover it was written on a tight deadline. Nonetheless, there are worthwhile examinations of equality and envy to be found ...more
An interesting dystopian novel based around an idea of everybody being equal, nobody looking above their station and attempting to eradicate envy or "Bad E".

Parts of the eradication is by formalising standards of peoples faces, mainly women and follows the main character through this world.

At times brutal and incredibly well written, the world is claustrophobic and creepy. Certainly one for fans of dystopian fiction.

Jonathan Norton
Very odd take on politics and religion, with unclear resolution. At times it seems like a satire of egalitarianism, at other times playing with the relationship between God and free will. Maybe we are to read a christian message in it, or maybe not. Nice to see discussions of "privilege" and female erasure appearing in nascent form. If you like this you might like "The Illuminatrix" by Thackray Seymour, but I make no promises on that.
Matt Wanner
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok. In order understand this book, it needs to be read twice
Aug 05, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
L'impressione dopo aver letto questo romanzo di Hartley, di genere distopico è quella che lo scrittore abbia messo come si suol dire "tanta carne al fuoco", ma non l'abbia cotta tutta; sviluppando male alcune questioni di peso all'interno della narrazione, come la Resistenza; direi in modo un pò frettoloso. L'ambientazione è quella tipica dell'Inghilterra post nucleare, in cui si è creato un regime socialisteggiante, uguaglianza e monotonia come massima rappresentazione della società sicura e fe ...more
(Read 16 Dec 2015)

(view spoiler)
Maria White
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Another take on a dystopian post-apocalyptic novel reminiscent of H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. There are some thought provoking ideas here about a society where individuality is seen as the major evil and is to be eradicated. The novel creates a scary two-dimensional world, a lunatic asylum on a grand scale where all inhabitants are addressed as patients and delinquents and where plastic surgery is used indiscriminately 'to betafy' the majority of women. It is unsettling and frig ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy, 2012

There are plenty of good ideas here, although occasionally Hartley falls too deeply in love with these ideas and spins them out too long. The narrator intrudes and sometimes reduces Jael 97 to something of a cipher. The "twist" is also predictable because of Hartley's unbalanced sympathies when he introduces the character. However, all in all there is a pace and a flow of striking points that make this post apocalyptic vision gel and attract.
Dead John Williams
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Good old British dystopia.

From the land that gave us 1984, Never Let Me Go, Brazil, Brave New World, Lord Off The Flies, Clockwork Orange, Crash, V For Vendetta now read Facial Justice.

In an age where beauty if forbidden women have to undergo disfuguring operations to remove their natural beauty. A good read

From the author of The Go-Between
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Feminist dictatorship FTW -- would love to see a good movie version.
Jan 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting but cold dystopian novel. Complex but rather full of itself and perhaps with less to say now than it did at the time of publication.
Jun 21, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: burgess-99
This sounds like the title of a porno taking place in a courthouse.
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was great. Really made you think!

Nov 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Hmm. Vacillated between fascinating and insufferable. Think of that Twilight Zone episode where everyone is fugly and the beautiful people are pitied and get surgery for their unfortunate appearance.
Aaron Slack
Jan 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Some very interesting ideas about manipulating society via guilt over inequality, but fell a bit short as a novel. Sort of an angry feminist version of Brave New World.
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
An interesting read but it failed to really grab my attention.

Here's my full review:
Peter Johns
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Jan 06, 2015
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Full name: Leslie Poles Hartley.