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Island

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  15,775 Ratings  ·  926 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 Fara ...more
Paperback, 354 pages
Published July 30th 2002 by Harper Perennial Modern 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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tom
Aug 11, 2008 Tom 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
Mohit Parikh
Sep 25, 2011 Mohit Parikh 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
Aubrey
Jul 21, 2011 Aubrey 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 Jodi 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 Kainan 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
John Doe
Apr 26, 2007 John Doe 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
Stela
Aug 12, 2014 Stela 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 Will 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
Hadrian
Feb 20, 2011 Hadrian 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 Karla Butler 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
Emanuel
A ilha de Pala vale sem dúvida a pena uma visita na companhia de Will que num acidente vai lá parar. A ilha é proibida, ou melhor, já foi mais.

As paisagens é que fazem realmente lembrar às pessoas o que elas são.

Conhecer a realidade de Pala e dos seus cidadãos não é conhecer um ideal de perfeição, mas antes um estabelecer de pontes com a nossa realidade, mais particularmente a pessoal, para que talvez haja lugar a sucessivas pequenas mudanças. O último capítulo é assombroso de louco, justificad
...more
Caroline
Jan 02, 2015 Caroline 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
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
Nataša
Jun 13, 2011 Nataša 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
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
Preeta
Feb 05, 2008 Preeta 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
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
Arzu Altınanıt
Sevdim mi? Bilmiyorum. Sanırım şansıslığı Cesur Yeni Dünya'dan hemen sonra okunmuş olması oldu, çünkü bir Cesur Yeni Dünya değil. Onun tersi yaratılmış ütopik bir toplum söz konusu. İlgimi çekmiş olması da bu sebeptendi. Evet, toplum çok daha barışcıl, çok daha huzurlu ama yetmedi. Aşırı virgül ve tire kullanımı da beni çok rahatsız etti.
Joanne
This is one of my new all time favourite books - strangely, I'd never heard of it until very recently. Huxley's expansive literacy in every genre is demonstrated masterfully in this treatise on modern society. Oddly, the backbone story is not terrific: the main character is a pitiful, selfish man with a broken sense of self and a wounded ego. Instead, what makes the book so rich, readable and re-readable is the intriguing way that Huxley demonstrates how humans always become the subjects of the ...more
John
Dec 10, 2008 John 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
LATOYA SAUNDERS
May 21, 2015 LATOYA SAUNDERS 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
Jenni
Dec 10, 2008 Jenni rated it liked it
A little hard to stay with this one. A man is shipwrecked on an island populated by the perfect society. A typical Huxley book, he exploits and criticizes the basest elements of his current society by contrasting it with the earth-friendly, free love island's society. His protagonist laughs like a hyena, has flashbacks of his miserable existence, and was essentially trying to get to this island to get a deal for oil companies, which would essentially destroy the island's balance and idealism. I' ...more
Matthew
Aug 22, 2015 Matthew rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics, philosophy
Uhg...what to say. This was a 350 page outline of Huxley's dream culture. Basically an entire work of dialogue, it lays out a system of Tatric Buddhism supplemented by hallucinogenic mushrooms. It relies, unapologetically, on irrationality. It was painful to read. I finished the book because I hoped that the overall "plot" of the story would include some activity. That activity came in the form of the last paragraph in the book. That was about it, which was shame because the premise of the story ...more
Cecily
May 30, 2008 Cecily 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).

Dan McG
Aug 28, 2015 Dan McG rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Huxley became a big proponent of mushrooms later in life, and a lot this book just reads like him explaining their benefits.
Lohmatii
Feb 28, 2017 Lohmatii rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Необычное произведение.
Книга практически полностью лишена действия и процентов на 90 состоит из диалогов. Более того, всю первую половину повествования мы сидим у кровати больного и подслушиваем его разговоры с посетителями. Либо через плечо подглядываем, что за книгу он читает.
Необычно здесь то, что все это увлекает.
Хаксли не показывает читателю свою утопию, но рассказывает о ней. Благодаря этому повествование не кажется фантастичным. Обычные люди, сидят, рассказывают как у них что здесь приня
...more
Tim
After his vivid and excellent Brave New World I thought I might give Huxley another go with his last work, Island. Now this was exceedingly interesting as Huxley wrote it just shortly before his death, after a life commited to warning humanity from so-called conditioning, advancements towards governmental control and emotional monitoring.

Again, the author sadly proved to be a rather poor narrator, as large parts of the book were pretty difficult to read - and in my opinion could have been narra
...more
احمد فضيل
Oct 08, 2015 احمد فضيل rated it it was amazing



إن المجتمع المثالى يمكن أن يكون ممكناً طالما ظل بعيداً عن الإحتكاك ببقية العالم .
.........................................
من إصدارات التنوير
رواية الجزيرة
للإنجليزى ألدوس هاكسلى
ترجمة سامى خشبة .
..................................................................
فى روايته عالم رائع جديد قدم هاكسلى رؤيته للواقع السىء ونظرته الكئيبة للعالم ، ولم يشأ أن يرحل قبل ان يترك بصمته فى المدينة المثالية
الرواية التى اراد منها النظرة لليوتيوبيا وحلم المدينة الفاضلة فى رأيى كانت تنتمى إلى الديستوبيا وأثبتت أن
...more
Helen
Nov 13, 2009 Helen rated it it was ok
I can see what's being done here. I enjoyed un picking the philosophical references and notions: the slight philosophical 'feel' of the book: the evident exploration of the possibilities of life - both good and evil, the need to 'attend' to that which we would rather bury - the 'inner journey' of Will Farnaby's character and so on. And I enjoyed certain passages of the book and some of the language, though generally I find Huxley's writing very dry. In all honesty, I found this book rather tedio ...more
Eman AlRaesi
Sep 12, 2015 Eman AlRaesi rated it really liked it


The book was a bit unsettling for me, not because it's dystopian like Brave New World, on the contrary, it's a Utopian novel, well, I think it's unnatural, I mean Utopias exist only in literature, if the the idea was possible in the least someone would've succeeded in implementing it, also I noticed one thing, when you read a dystopian novel you're a bit sad but this hope of a better tomorrow grows inside you, it's very emotionally moving, it makes you want to be a better human, but I think a Ut
...more
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HMSA Reads: Book Review: Island 1 7 Aug 05, 2016 05:25PM  
Young Blood: Island - Aldous Huxley 13 16 Jul 11, 2016 11:11PM  
Young Blood: Chapters 1-5 Due 7/3/2016 1 14 Jun 25, 2016 12:32AM  
EDCMOOC: Discussion questions 5 25 Jul 06, 2013 10:34AM  
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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
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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.”
387 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...” 349 likes
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