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Island

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  20,607 ratings  ·  1,264 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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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,607 ratings  ·  1,264 reviews


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Tom
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: stoners
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
...more
Matthew
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
...more
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-Maat
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, about half of the book Farnaby, who, with apologies for the technical details, seems to have busted
...more
Aubrey
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
...more
Jodi
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.
Kainan
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
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
...more
Chaz
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Brave New World readers
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
...more
John Carncross
Apr 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Hippies pretending to be Yuppies.
Shelves: reviewed
My GRE Test Prep book says that qualifying and generally narrowing the scope of your thesis does not in any way undermine the effectiveness of your argument. On the contrary it makes the argument appear scholarly, more convincing. The persuasive power of Huxley’s utopia similarly rests in a kind of measured ambition. That is, while it is certainly naïve to assume human beings will ever solve all of their important problems, it also cannot be denied that these problems are all too often caused by ...more
Caroline
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
Stela
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
Will
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: soc-polysci, utopia
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
Jill
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
...more
Hadrian
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Cecily
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).

Lena
Jan 18, 2019 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lena by: Solarpunk
Shelves: solarpunk, audio, classic, dnf
B2762DB9-39AF-452D-95BB-59DF9704D4C6.jpg
“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.
E61239BE-8E75-4291-B112-C7C6F9EC9654.jpg

I’m not in the mood for
...more
Emanuel
rated it really liked it
Aug 09, 2016
Preeta
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
...more
Littlebookterror
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 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 was fin
...more
Nataša
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ajme meni, al me iznenadila ova knjiga ! Treći susret sa Hakslijem i definitivno najjači utisak za vreme i nakon čitanja..
Nisam se baš interesovala o čemu je reč, očekivala sam manje-više nešto poput Vrlog novog sveta... međutim, dobih sasvim suprotno :) imam je na polici još od sajma 2014, kud je ne uzeh ranije u šake!?

Elem, čovek je pre više od pola veka govorio o stvarima koje me trenutno veoma zanimaju, pa sam se čitajući konstantno oduševljavala govoreći u sebi "da li je moguće, pa upravo o
...more
Alyssa
I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. "Brave New World" is one of my favorite dystopias, so I was excited to see how Huxley tackled a utopia, and to see how his thoughts on society matured between his writing of "Brave New World" and "Island"-- his last novel. I felt the result was slightly disappointing.
While all dystopias and utopias are comments on society, and almost all utopia/dystopia authors have an agenda which they would like the reader to come to after reading the work,
...more
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.
El
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
LATOYA JOVENA
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
...more
Steven
"We don't despair, because we know that things don't necessarily have to be as bad as in fact they've always been."
As a novel, Island fails. From an aesthetic point of view, it simply isn't very good: the scenario, setting, and characters created by Huxley are contrived and the endless religious-philosophical dialogue is scholastic and polished enough to befit a journal. In short, Huxley asks much from his reader, without always rewarding this trust by way of story-telling. At the same time, I
...more
John
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 (Perennial Classics) 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
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HMSA Summer Reading: Book Review: Island 1 7 Aug 05, 2016 05:25PM  
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Young Blood: Chapters 1-5 Due 7/3/2016 1 15 Jun 25, 2016 12:32AM  
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Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through his novels and es ...more
“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.”
637 likes
“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...” 392 likes
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