Mark Steed's Reviews > Island

Island by Aldous Huxley
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bookshelves: aldous-huxley, drugs, education, literature, philosophy, spirituality, utopia, yoga

Huxley's vision of a utopian society on the fictional Pacific island of Pala is more challenging than captivating. Huxley's Pala cherry-picks the best of Eastern mysticism and the benefits of Western civilisation, such as medicine and electricity - although his device of the two founder fathers being the Buddhist Raja and an enlightened Scottish doctor is somewhat artificial and a bit clunky at times. The happiness of this society is founded on good education, physical exercise, meditational and yoga techniques, effective birth control - and thus sustainable development, and [of course Huxley's favourites] sexual liberation and drug-taking.

In outlining his idyllic society, Huxley holds up a mirror to our own through the arrival of Will Farnaby, a disallusioned cynical journalist, and through the young ambitious future Raja, Murugan, who plans to bring Pala all the benefits of Western civilisation [industrialisation, consumerism, militarisation, unhappiness, etc].

There is half a pretence that there is a plot to this novel, but it is thin and quite predictable. The strength of the novel is in the descriptions of Palanese society.

This is one of those books that I am glad that I have read, even though it was at times rather tough going at times. In his enthusiasm to outline his vision, Huxley drifts into an evangelical style that bordered on preaching - but perhaps that just goes with the territory.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 1, 2016 – Shelved
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: aldous-huxley
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: drugs
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: education
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: literature
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: philosophy
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: spirituality
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: utopia
April 1, 2016 – Shelved as: yoga

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