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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  28,809 ratings  ·  1,946 reviews
In Island, his last novel, Huxley transports us to a Pacific island where, for 120 years, an ideal society has flourished. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events begin to move when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Far ...more
Paperback, 354 pages
Published July 30th 2002 by Harper Perennial Classics (first published 1962)
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Gord Beacock Absolutely not. I don't recognize the book you describe, but this one is about the destruction of a Utopian society by religious puritanism and greed.…moreAbsolutely not. I don't recognize the book you describe, but this one is about the destruction of a Utopian society by religious puritanism and greed. You should read it anyway.(less)
Kevin The mynah birds are not super important to the story, but basically, they are talking parrot-like birds that were taught to say a set of approximately…moreThe mynah birds are not super important to the story, but basically, they are talking parrot-like birds that were taught to say a set of approximately 3 phrases constantly (e.g. "Attention!" or "Here and now, boys"), in order to remind the humans hearing them to be mindful and fully in the moment.(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  28,809 ratings  ·  1,946 reviews

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Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was simply unbearable to read. The only reason I slugged through it was out of respect for Huxley and for the occasional snippets of philosophical wisdom I discovered along the way.

The theme is pure Huxley: intelligent, open-minded man gets shipwrecked on a remote tropical island where the native population has managed to create a utopia. The man meets a variety of people over a period of days who explain Pala's (the name of the island) unique culture.

The story is actually a successi
Jun 13, 2021 rated it liked it
When I was a kid I was mercilessly mocked by bullies, because of my introspective passivity. When I was confined to a hospital in my early twenties, the doctors wanted to lift the rocks of my dozy subconscious to uncover my own nightcrawlers.

Trouble was, my only nightcrawlers were the bullies - among whose number these physicians were simply the latest professional examples. But they had blurred their confused ethical lines - and I just liked to be left alone to dream.

Dreamers are good for the
Mohit Parikh
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Let me open the review with a bold but defensible statement: This work has no literary merit. This "sci-fi" (Huxley couple were not happy that this work was considered a science fiction) utopian novel is a vehicle to deliver what Huxley believed to be The answer to one of the most critical questions of our existence - we know the present value systems are fucked up but what is the alternative? The Island, Pala, is where Huxley materializes in words his vision, relying and borrowing heavily from ...more
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, classic, sci-fi
I bet just about every review of this book starts with a sentence along the lines of “I am reading this because I read Brave New World . . .” Well, I am no different! Brave New World is one of my favorite (if not my most favorite) book, so I figured I would give another Huxley book a try.

I am giving this one 3 stars – not because it is good or because it is bad, but because it just is!

Island is a utopian manifesto thinly veiled behind a story on a fictional island of Pala. I have seen many say
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm on a roll. Or rather I've finally figured out how to find lots of books that I'll love. So many five stars, and it's only February. Anyways.

This book is like a savory meal that is extremely good for you. Or any activity that is rewarding in all the right ways. Hardin's 'Tragedy of the Commons' comes to mind, or more a massive extension on its logic in a world where there's a country that fully accepts it. Will brings enough cynicism into the utopia to put up a good fight, but his acceptance
Sep 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Mr. Roarke and Tatto stand on a hillside waiting, and as they wait they discuss Aldous Huxley’s 1962 novel Island.

Roarke: You know it was Huxely’s final book.

Tattoo: Yes, and he returned to many of the themes that he had written about in his long and distinguished career, like population, ecology, religion and the state.

Roarke: Yes, and similar to his seminal work Brave New World, he explores the ideas of a utopia / dystopia but in this sense it is as a cynical journalist is shipwrecked on an ot
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm not even finished with this and already it has had a profound effect on me. I resonate with this book like Cat's Cradle or Stranger in a Strange Land. It will take me two or three more reads—at least—to grok it in fullness, but it already feels as if some of the thoughts were for me, some of me. It's been a very long time since I fell so profoundly in love with a book, and it's a delicious, delightful, very spiritual experience. ...more
Well. Well. Well.

Well that got me round the awkward problem of how to begin this review. Island can hardly qualify as a novel, certainly not as a good one by normative criteria. Most of the book consists of one character, Will Farnaby, shipwrecked on the island paradise of Pala, having conversations with other 'characters' who to all intents and purposes could almost all have been the same person. For about half of the book Farnaby, who, with apologies for the technical details, seems to have bu
Brendan Monroe
"Attention!" This is exactly the kind of book the world needs right now, perhaps more relevant today than it was upon its publication in 1962.

Looking out the window, at the smoke-filled skies, the streets full of protesters, the degradation of social and democratic norms, one can't help but feel we're on a precipice of sorts. Every day seems to bring with it more horrors than the last. Who can help but look ahead and grimace at the thought of what is still to come?

Imagine that last year at this
Daniel Gonçalves
Whatever the precise definition of the “novel” concept might be, it certainly does not hold “Island” as its epitome. It is comprehensible.

After the release of the acclaimed dystopia known as “Brave New World”, Huxley’s name became forever imprinted into the respectable hall of fame of science fiction writing, which might have hindered his prospects into finding other ways to convey his own opinions. In “Island”, the reader is overcome with the feeling that he might have been coerced into masquer
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: utopia, soc-polysci
Tiresome but worthwhile, Island is more sociological treatise than novel. Huxley wrote a guide to his ideal society: communal, pacifist, profoundly spiritual, a country that focuses on its citzens' well-being and happiness over environmental devastation and false corporate prosperity. Pala, Huxley's fictitious South Asian island nation, is the societal equivalent of an ecosystem, the complex networks of each community rely on mutual dependence, a form of structured anarchism. I was spellbound an ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ten pages from the end, sitting at a bar, the bartender asked me: "Are you one of those people who reads the last sentence of a book before they start it, to see if it'll live up to your expectations?"

Uh, say what? I thought. Is that a common practice? Seriously? "No," I replied, "but I can see it might be kinda interesting."

"Yeah," he said, "but it's a pretty big spoiler alert. It can really ruin it."

Digesting that bit of logic, I finished the book, my wine, and the bartender brought the credi
Nov 29, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: british
Aesthetically, not his best work, but wonderful none the less. The book is basically just an essay on politics, science, philosophy, religion, society, man, and ultimately, Utopia, masked as a novel. This is a forewarning to those looking for deep characters or a driving plot. However, the debate set forth by Huxley is more than a little intriguing, and should definitely hold the attention of anyone who has dreamed of a better life for the world and the people in it. One of the biggest arguments ...more
Майя Ставитская
Aldous Huxley wrote his last novel a year before his death and thirty years after the cult "Oh, Brave New World". The twentieth century was a time of literary dystopias, Huxley's most famous book was often published under the same cover with Zamyatin's "We" and Orwell's "1984" - the classic "anti". But in fact, the "Wonderful World" is much more of a utopia. Yes, it is grotesque, based on selection and chemically stimulated contentment instead of democratic principles, but it is a working model ...more
May 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
About a utopian SE Asian island society on the cusp of being corrupted by exploitation of oil. Reads more like a socio-political manifesto than a novel. The plot, such as it is, is just an excuse to contrive situations for characters to explain their life, philosophy, culture etc, rather than the driving force. This also means that none of the characters are very convincing because they are almost incidental caricatures (and many of them are too good to be true).

May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It should be stated as a caveat to this review, that I believe that Huxley is one of the most important, intellectual, and enlightened mystics of the 20th century. I originally read this book 8 or nine years ago when my knowledge of spirituality, religion, and literature was sparse. However, it was one of those books that struck me like lightning and forever change the way I frame the world and our society.So a re-read…
Island is an active dialogue between relatively few characters who bring Huxl
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
BRAVE New World is one of my all time favourite books so when I bought this one it seemed like a no-brainer. Island is a really interesting and thought-provoking book. A word of warning to anyone considering reading this though... this isn't your typical story; there is no real complication, it is a series of philosophical ponderings surrounding the main character. I loved it but I know it is not for everyone. I found that the story got me thinking a lot and I often had to pause to consider what ...more
Karla Butler
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Aug 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel-of-ideas
Strange things, these novels of ideas. You read, you read, so charmed and challenged by the intellectual debate that somewhere along the road you completely forget to pay attention to the plot, to the characters and generally to all that makes the essence of a novel. And only in the end you ask yourself if it is a novel what you’ve just read after all. The explanation is of course quite simple: plot and characters are only embodiments of ideas and such writings, while mimicking the narrative str ...more
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a book to read and re-read for the philosophical and spiritual issues that it examines. The utopia of Pala is examined by an outsider, much like ourselves. Will has been brought up through the typical patriarchal pedagogy, which resents and demeans anything different.

He learns to embrace a parallel if not complementary way of living. The Palanese integrate teachings across philosophies (not just religions) of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity and accept the spectrum of individuals (m
Jon Anthony
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As relevant today as it was when it was written. This book digs deep into the battle for indigenous rights and corporate plunder.
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was happily reading this book and then going along feeling like I was on an Island. It was warm and sunny. The natives were friendly for the most part and all spoke English. And then it happened...
Aldous Huxley. There's a message in all of his books and I already knew the message for this one: which society is better? Modern technology or a more primitive and laid back approach? Some combination of the 2?
Reading it came like a slap from the grave. Aldous called our health care "50% terrific an
James Tingle

I read this Huxley book about a year ago and was just thinking about it recently. It is in some way a novel, but only in a vague approximation of what you'd expect of one. There isn't a whole lot of plot and what slim plot line there is seems mainly to exist as a broad enclosure or framework for Huxley's philosophical ideas. The peaceful island of Pala seems like a utopia and the people who live there have built up a perfect kind of pacifist existence, whereby they live in total isolation from t
Let's get the obvious out of the way first. Did i read this for the plot? Absolutely not. The premise is literally "a guy is stranded on an island and while recoving, he gets a full tour of their lives, economy and, philosophies."
Is the writing great? Not really. Brave New World was definitely better.

But then why did I read it? I don't know.
I wanted to see what else Huxley has up his sleeves - and I was surprised. So while I struggled through a lot of this and kept checking my pages to see if I
“Lenin used to say that electricity plus socialism equals communism. Our equations are rather different.
Electricity minus heavy industry plus birth control equals democracy and plenty.
Electricity plus heavy industry minus birth control equals misery, totalitarianism and war.”

Aldous Huxley’s Pala is a beautiful Solarpunk country. I would love to read stories of it’s people, their lives, their dramas.

But that’s not this book.

This is a story of beauty about to be raped.

I’m not in the mood f
Lee Klein
Jun 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All about Soma which is like all about this totally cool combo of prozac and more psychoactively intense "medications" . . . read it in the passenger seat of a VW Golf driving back east from California after high-school graduation during the First Bush's reign of terror. Think I finished it by Cheyenne. Way enjoyable. ...more
Dec 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
My wife and I have been preparing for next year's season premiere of ABC's hit series, Lost, and decided to watch all four seasons' prior episodes. As part of the experience, we looked at the Lost Book Club offerings and noticed that Aldous Huxley's Island was included.

On seeing that online listing, I was reminded that I had read the book about a decade after it was originally published (in 1962), while I was in high school. Although most of us growing up in the 1960s were more likely to have r
Erik Graff
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This book was required reading for a Grinnell College sociology course on utopias and dystopias taught by Alan Jones. Of all the books in that class we probably enjoyed this most because it was at once tragically utopian and, to our minds, relevant. Not only did it portray a plausible way of life, but it included the earnest use of psychotropics. It is not, however, Huxley at his best. Though we didn't mind, the message dominates whatever literary merit this last novel of his has. ...more
Dec 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can read my review here: http://embracingmybooks.blogspot.be/2... ...more
The biggest problem I have with books centered on Utopian themes is that they are written more like a how-to guide than an actual novel. At least with dystopic literature things happen as well as playing as a mirror to the past society before it went "bad". With Utopian novels you have a character, usually a cynic (Will Farnaby here), who stumbles upon/is shipwrecked upon/falls asleep and wakes up in/etc. a brand new world. (Yes, that was an Aldous Huxley joke.) In Will's case, he was shipwrecke ...more
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Brave New World (1932), best-known work of British writer Aldous Leonard Huxley, paints a grim picture of a scientifically organized utopia.

This most prominent member of the famous Huxley family of England spent the part of his life from 1937 in Los Angeles in the United States until his death. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetr

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“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.

I was so preposterously serious in those days, such a humorless little prig.
Lightly, lightly – it’s the best advice ever given me.
When it comes to dying even. Nothing ponderous, or portentous, or emphatic.
No rhetoric, no tremolos,
no self conscious persona putting on its celebrated imitation of Christ or Little Nell.
And of course, no theology, no metaphysics.
Just the fact of dying and the fact of the clear light.

So throw away your baggage and go forward.
There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet,
trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair.
That’s why you must walk so lightly.
Lightly my darling,
on tiptoes and no luggage,
not even a sponge bag,
completely unencumbered.”
“It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling...” 460 likes
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