Read Island by Aldous Huxley Online


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 FarIn 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 Faranby doesn't expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and—to his amazement—give him hope....

Title : Island
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060085490
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 354 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Island Reviews

  • Tom
    2019-05-23 15:13

    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 succession of philosophical, political, spiritual, scientific, and psychological discussions (or narratives) that describe how their perfect society works. No wonder this was Huxley's last book. It's obvious he's trying to create a perfect world on paper--one he never had the opportunity to witness in real life. The main problem I have with "Island" is its complete departure from the novel form. And this issue is not problematic in and of itself, but when the departure is UNINTERESTING, it becomes a problem. There is no palpable tension, no recognizable antagonist, and absolutely, no climax. If anything, the best part of the book is when the main character, Will Barnaby, takes the "moksha-medicine" and goes into a psychedelic trance. Oh, I won't ruin the end for you...its predictability is so utterly bland, you'll want to keep turning every page.Ultimately, if you're into Tantra or Buddhism or utopian novels, this may be your book. But if you're into Literature. Be Warned.One more thing. Here's my favorite quotation of the book (and there's lots more like it if you read it):"We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way." I think that's cool!And one more thing Beatles fans:There is a "Dr. Robert" in the book who is one of the main characters. He is one of the proponents of the moksha-medicine (mind expanding drug). The Beatles have a song called "Dr. Robert", and Aldous Huxley is one of the famous people on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper album!

  • Mohit Parikh
    2019-04-26 09:18

    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 Eastern religious philosophies, particularly those of Buddhism and Hinduism. The systems suggested are ingenious as such (even while they are derivative) and thought provoking, if the book is an initiation to the alternate world-views presented here (and the book did serve as an introduction for much of the western audience at that time). I was extremely skeptical of the book's promise after being disappointed by the overenthusiam of Huxley in The Doors of Perception, but here, Huxley shows he is not just an enthusiast but a true intellectual, that his understanding of the spiritual philosophies is not a mere fascination of its promises and mysteries and the rich metaphysics. Thus, what could have been a ridiculous/didactic/dull work, becomes a serious suggestion for the reader's consideration. Add to that Huxley's insights into the Western man's (or at least the Western-man-of-that-time's - the Hero's) innate dilemmas and insecurities and their root causes. To profess a final answer to any question one must first have a deep understanding of the question itself. This Huxley exhibits with careful sensitivity, as much as an exhibition of careful sensitivity is permitted by the novel's form/genre. Also, while the book may not be read for fun alone it is a lot of fun. Some of the side characters are caricatured, the dialogues are often witty and the hero has a self-acerbic humor. This helps while the reader is being educated.Reading this will remind you of Avatar, of Dances with the Wolves, of Razor's Edge. It will also remind you very much of the movie Mindwalk, provided you have seen it (chances are you haven't and I highly recommend it if you haven't). So, if you know what you are going for and are still curious/open-minded, go for it. The book was a dying man's earnest attempt to show the troubled world what he thought was a glimmer of hope. I believe in this hope.

  • Aubrey
    2019-05-16 15:10

    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 and appreciation was inevitable. His main issue was jealousy; from this stems his desire to bring the place down to the level that he has been forced into acclimatizing to for his entire life. You can't keep that attitude up for long though under these circumstances. At least, I definitely wouldn't be able to.And Huxley. He took his amazingly keen analysis of human nature and applied to a future of improvement, not the future of the inevitable as he did in 'Brave New World'. There's little chance of it, but oh how I wish this story would come to pass. In some way, some form, somehow. Long after I'm dead, that's for sure. The world is too bogged down by those who don't appreciate the logic and genius reasoning behind all this. Of course it’s awfully idealistic and whatnot but still. It's a shame, really. I can't see any reason to dim the brilliance of this book in order to acknowledge its imperfections. It's again like Hardin says. People are so used to rejecting any imperfect reform that comes around in favor of maintaining the status quo, that nothing ever really happens. Perhaps it's a bit much to apply it to book reviews. But hey, I love this book. And I get to apply recent learning. I love being able to do that.

  • Jan-Maat
    2019-04-27 11:57

    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 his knee in the course of arriving on the Island, is having these conversations while laying on a hospital bed while various people come and see him. Obviously Farnaby is the representative troubled person from the real world alias the insane world - as in So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, or Dystopia, and since Pala represents Utopia, its denizens have to explain its Utopian qualities to him, as is traditional in utopian literature.There is a plot. Farnaby is not on Pala accidentally. Naturally the purpose of a Utopia is either for the author to explode it - either to show us that it is dystopia or to show it is unsustainable in the face of the real world. In this case the island paradise sits across the water from an expansionist militaristic state and on top of oil reserves - all this is revealed pretty early on. Indeed Farnaby is meant to be of the conspiracy to end the Island's independence but naturally over the course of numerous conversations with the islanders he is converted, cured of the problems related to his 20th heritage and upbringing...however the clock is ticking. Although the book is strongly didactic I was surprised to find myself moved - not to the edge of my seat, the philosophy of the book teaches us not to be slaves to such transitory passions, but moved all the same.Anyway we realise that this island has to be Utopia because the women wear very few clothes and everybody has plentiful and satisfying sex as well as psychedelic experience for which the islanders are prepared through their education system.'Wait a minute', you might say 'that reminds me of another book', drugs and clothes with zips - it can only be Brave New World. And indeed Island is more or less Brave New World pulled inside out. The Farnaby character roughly equivalent to the Savage in the earlier book.I think that is the interesting part of it, Aldous Huxley at age of writing Brave New World plus time and experience equals Island, can also be expressed as the hopes and fears of the 1920s and 30s that we see in We, Brave New World, and eventually in1984 are not the hopes and fears of the 1950s and 60s which we see expressed in Island, and it struck me that Huxley's holistic vision in this book combining popular culture, ecology, education, a humane economy rather than homo economicus, health and spirituality is still contemporary if not so far mainstream(view spoiler)[ Farnaby discusses medicine with his nurse: "So you think our medicine's pretty primitive?" ..."It's fifty percent terrific and fifty percent non-existent. Marvellous antibiotics - but absolutely no methods for increasing resistance...Fantastic operations - but when it comes to teaching people the way of going through life without having to be chopped up, absolutely nothing...""But cure" said Will, "is so much more dramatic than prevention. And for the Doctors it's also a lot more profitable"(p.77)(hide spoiler)]. Or indeed predicting the epidemic of chair related illnesses due to people not being physically active enough, Huxley's Utopia is built around the human and what the human needs to function healthily, while his earlier Dystopia was structured around a steady state economy - there the humans had to be shaped in the womb and thoroughly socially conditioned in order to be fit and appropriate economic actors.A book is an invitation into an author's life and in this case we can transit from a mental world transfixed by industrialisation and maintaining consumption societies to one frightened of over population, and environmental destruction. Living the Good Life hangs in the background. For Young Huxley this was possible in the context of a universal totalitarian industrial society ruled by Philosopher Kings who could rescue independent souls and send them into exiles where they could be safe from consumer societies. While for Huxley the Elder the Good Life is inter-related with theology. If God is wholly other and good then humanity must be bad and individuals will be self-torturing and intolerant, angry and exploitative (they will also beat their children, might well own slaves, but will be nice to their pets since like God they too are wholly other). On the other hand if humanity is part of the Divine then the lion can lay down with the lamb without eating it. For Huxley the Good Life can become the good Society by teaching people tantric sex and providing them with contraceptives, while hypnosis allows for pain free births.Huxley is strong on the Utopian tradition - so this society is on an island as per Gullivers Travels or Tommy More's book, or for that matter Plato's Atlantis and Butler's Erewhon is referenced several times, the Utopian society is brought about by a philosopher king and his philosophical advisor, unfortunately the nature of monarchy is that it doesn't last and the heir to power in this generation is homosexual and obsessed with the neighbouring military dictator - who allows him to drive his car too fast, the Prince's mother is naturally overbearing (view spoiler)[She reminded him of Joe Aldehyde. Joe was one of those happy tycoons who feel no qualms, but rejoice without inhibitions in their money and in all that their money will buy in the way of influence and power. And here - albeit clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful - was another of Joe Aldehyde's breed; a female tycoon who had cornered the market, not in soya beans or copper, but in Pure Spirituality and the Ascended Masters, and was now happily running her hands over the exploit (p.59)(hide spoiler)], so far so Freudian or perhaps Jungian. Another sign maybe that we are at the dawn of the 1960s, NLP has just been invented, psychology is mainstream and eastern philosophies on the verge of fashionability, Mahayana Buddhism with a splash of Hinduism provide the cultural bedrock that the creators of the utopia work with.Apparently Old Man Huxley is overshadowed by his younger self and our rampant consumer society keeps his Brave New World evergreen, but Island remains as its counterpoint.

  • Jodi
    2019-05-09 11:10

    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
    2019-05-17 16:23

    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 presented in the book (one I happen to agree quite strongly with) is that each of the disciplines (in the Arts, Sciences, and Religions) of life fails, in its collective Ego, to understand that it alone is not the solution to life's problems, nor the answer to its most important questions. Life requires a healthy amalgam of all these areas.This was Huxley's last book (published a year before his death), and it is quite beautiful to see that his parting thoughts were of that tiny shard of hope (and, dare I say, optimism) that Man can indeed achieve happiness.

  • John Doe
    2019-05-09 13:22

    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 social choices we have made. And so, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that some problems may be solved by making different choices, etc. And so, Huxley gives us an island with fewer religious fanatics, food shortages, problems due to overpopulation, emotional cripples, bullies, problems due to sexism, crimes of jealousy and fewer class antagonisms than the world at large. Huxley gives us a society of human beings that are less alienated from their environment, their communities, themselves. Huxley gives us a culture that is thoughtfully organized, with solutions to some of the world’s most important social problems. Then, he has it destroyed by a military dictator with a short-man’s complex--in the name of progress, no less!It is a wonderful novel of ideas. Bravo!

  • Stela
    2019-04-26 09:59

    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 structure, with its setup, conflict and resolution, follow subtly in fact either the Hegelian dialectic of thesis-antithesis-synthesis or the essay questioning parts of what-how-why.Island, the last Huxley’s book, is the perfect example of such writing. It was seen as the utopian answer to the dystopian Brave New World, but is it? It seems to me both novels develop, in different ways, the same thesis: that mankind cannot stay beauty. Oh, humans may create it, recognize and even admire it for a while, but in the end they always pervert and destroy it. And beauty is not artistic creation, at least not only. Beauty is superior knowledge and constant seek of harmonious relationships – be it in or between people, or between people and nature, or between people and gods. In the name of this coveted harmony was built the World State with its strict regulations and its five casts and its fix-numbered population and its soma to appease any metaphysical anxiety, the perfect, brave new world where happiness was induced artificially from birth and knowledge was forbidden as dangerous. This is civilisation way, Huxley warned then, the Gotterdammerung of mass culture. Thirty years after, he imagines another way to reach harmony: isolation from civilisation, reinterpretation of all the values of the society, from family to economy and politics. After identifying all the wrongs in human civilisation and finding a solution for every one of them, Pala becomes a true terrestrial paradise, whose inhabitants are in permanent touch with nature and themselves helped by (this time) a beneficial drug, moksha medicine, and by a deep and original understanding of Tantra philosophy: If you’re a Tantrik, you don’t renounce the world or deny its value; you don’t try to escape into a Nirvana apart from life, as the monks of the Southern School do. No, you accept the world and make use of it; you make use of everything you do, of everything that happens to you, of all the things you see and hear and taste and touch, as so many means to your liberation from the prison of yourself.But of course, such a society cannot compete with the human genius of destruction. Furthermore, it is not allowed to exist (I cannot help thinking this was Huxley’s foreboding of Tibet's fate). The brave new world is waiting just around the corner for the moment to step in and swallow this world and re-create it in its image. Why?First, because it simply isn’t possible for Pala to go on being different from the rest of the world. And second, because it isn’t right that it should be different.And third, because the world as a rule has no place for Karuna, that is for compassion. The people of Pala will always be “the savages” of the World State as John was, to be isolated, ridiculed and finally destroyed. The conclusion is therefore identical in both novels: humanity cannot to be saved, for even when it is shown a glimpse of happiness it does its utmost to destroy it. And it is only natural to be this way, since the purpose of the society has never, never been to turn its members into “full-blown human beings”:What are boys and girls for in America? Answer: for mass consumption. (…) Whereas in Russia there’s a different answer. Boys and girls are for strengthening the national state. (…) And in China it’s the same, but a good deal more so. What are boys and girls for there? For cannon fodder, industry fodder, agriculture fodder, road-building fodder.…I close the book with a sad smile and I realize that I probably forget one day all about Will Farnaby, and Robert MacPhail and Murugan and the Rani, but I will never forget the utopic society of Pala, which really believed that Shiva-Nataraja would forever dance for them, while stamping on Muyalaka, to free them of the world’s malignity.

  • Chaz
    2019-04-26 07:59

    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 Huxley’s Perennial Philosophy to a narrative form. Will Farnaby , the protagonist is a deranged, self-loathing, confused journalist who finds himself a survivor of a shipwreck and is welcomed into the utopian land of Pala. Here he witnesses Huxley’s vision of a society harmonizing with nature, but also embracing science and compassion. Now that I’m writing this I find it hard to write an adequate summary and so I’ll leave it on a quote that I earmarked. There is really so much wisdom embedded in these pages, that often this novel could be read like any piece of philosophic or religious text.In one scene the children of Pala are actively moving scarecrows to protect their crops. The scarecrows are representations of gods or enlightened beings such as Buddha, Shiva,… will was confused by this, so he inquired about the purpose of it.“ He wanted to make the children understand that all gods are homemade, and it’s we who pull their strings and so give them the power to pull ours.”

  • Will
    2019-05-16 14:02

    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 and nodded my head in agreement as speech after speech flowed implausibly from the mouths of the Palanese, from spirited young girls to spry old men.Huxley adopts a thoroughly Buddhist lens which he peppers throughout his characters' constant pontifications. He takes a courageous stand against the creation of "Otherness" on which Western society thrives. Over pages of exposition and inquiry, Huxley lays out a worldview that is based on oneness, an absolute refusal to buy into dualism. Good and evil are part of life, and should be cherished. Compassion and bliss, pain and joy are all necessary, for only when one experiences true sorrow can one know bliss. Death is just as necessary as life. The ecosystem only works because of the endless cycle of birth, life, and death. Getting caught up in religious, political, or economic dogmatism only leads to strife and jealousy, endless war, and unfettered consumerism. State communism and capitalism are corrupt and incompatible with true happiness.Respectful free love is encouraged and taught to young children as a way to sow joy and compassion into their inner minds. The stigmatization that comes with sex in the West is actively destroyed in Pala. And the family is a significantly more loosely defined concept. Each child is part of a Mutual Adoption Club (MAC), where they have several parents, siblings, cousins, and grandaparents, all of whom help out each other. Have a problem with your biological mom? Spend a few nights with your mom down the road, and when everyone has cooled down, come back with a clear head. The idea of non-biological kinship networks fascinates me. As an only child, I never wanted a sibling, but always wished that my family was closer to our neighbors. Huxley is right when he maligns that the nuclear family in the West is sometimes a small prison. As we all know, escape from the family is just as important as quality time with mom and pop. As the sole kid, it was hard to escape the ever watchful eye and judgment of my doting parents. An MAC, the true expression of the French expression "vivre ensemble," would have been a godsend.Equally as important for the Palanese is the balance of mind and body, the physical and the spiritual. From a young age, children are expected to perform community duties. Boys and girls are taught to let go of their anger by stamping on the ground and yelling and forgive rather than begrudge. The protagonist, Will, often makes sarcastic comments that the Palanese find distasteful. Bliss, beauty, and wonder are used sincerely, something that would never slide in the West. We thrive on irony and sarcasm to an unbearable extent.Huxley's descriptions of moksha-medicine, the hallucinogen that Palanese use to tune their spiritual lives, are the polar opposite of his descriptions of drug use in Brave New World. Moksha creates both beauty and pain and leads Will to recognize the infinite multiplicity of every rock, tree, cloud, and person. Soma, the state-distributed drug used in BNW, creates only positive experiences, which is why the drug is so morally and intellectually deadly. Huxley's point in BNW is expanded in Island, where only by using moksha autonomously can one finally understand the oneness of things.While Island portrays Pala in an overwhelmingly positive light, the specter of invasion by the neighboring authoritarian state of Rendang is inevitable. No one should be surprised by the book's conclusion after reading the first 50 pages, but it still existentially disturbed me. Even in Huxley's most positive moments, inevitable destruction looms. Is it worth trying to create a better, pacifist society knowing the invasion inevitably comes? Huxley cries "Yes!" As the Palanese say again and again, you must pay attention and savor, strive for a better life, even in the face of assured devastation.Island is completely worth reading for its ideological wealth, even if it's sometimes a slog to get through. Pala seems like a fine place to me. Recommended.

  • Karla Butler
    2019-05-23 12:16

    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 Will Farnaby and show him that true happiness is found when you embrace life to the full and learn to love yourself and mankind. Unfortunately, the despotic Colonel Dipa has other plans. The Island is plentiful in natural oil and already, power hungry capitalists are hoping to exploit this nirvana for their own dastardly ends. Aldous Huxley and others of his generation were deeply saddened by the state of the world after the Second World War. Images of brainwashed nazis and the rampant materialism in post-war America are interwoven into this tale as a warning that mankind will ultimately end destroying all that is good and true in the world. Aldous Huxley must have known that this was going to be his last book as death seems to be a major theme. Will Farnaby learns that death does not have to be depressing or traumatic, it can be a celebration of someone's life as they take a journey into the unknown. I think Huxley must have felt that he too was ready to embark on that last chapter of his life... Island is a beautifully written book and I would definitely recommend it.

  • Caroline
    2019-05-04 15:05

    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 I had read. This book took me a long time to get through because I could never sit down and read a hundred pages- I had to have breaks. It's a really great book and whilst it is not as good as Brave New World (in my eyes at least) I would recommend it to any Huxley fans.

  • Hadrian
    2019-05-02 10:58

    This is less of a novel, and more of an expanded philosophical treatise on Huxley's version of a utopia.The society of the island Pala is the inverse of, and parallel to, the society of Brave New World. Instead of a rudimentary caste system, jobs are assigned from personal interest and capability. Education is communal, in order to prevent passing of parental neuroses or flaws and ease socialization. The emphasis of sex is not solely to have a lot of it, but to enjoy it and make an experience out of it. Lots of ideas are derived from Eastern philosophy.Such a society does not shun all technology, however. Refrigeration and hydroelectricity are essential to keep the basic necessities of society going, as well as modern medicine. However, the overproduction of consumer goods is limited, so as to prevent outside invasion but also conspicuous consumption. Genetic modification and contraception are common, but to pass on good qualities instead of enforcing superiority or inferiority.Most notably, instead of soma being used to make the populace dumb and happy, they are used as a means of personal growth and experimentation. The most common drug is named moshka, derived from a mushroom and somewhat analogous to psilocybin or mescaline. Compassion and faith seem to be the cornerstones of this society, not ideology or advancement.Island's influence is very clear as an archetype of psychedelic drug fiction. However, it refrains from the sheer unbounded optimism which these thought experiments entail. At the end of the novel, the island is seized in a coup backed by dictatorial and corporate interests, and the fate of the islanders is uncertain. Huxley knows only too well what happens to the people of loving-happiness, eternal compassion and attention compared to the advance of the Other.

  • Daniel Gonçalves
    2019-05-05 10:01

    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 masquerading the book’s message as a “novel”. Despite it, the book reveals tremendous intellectual achievement, and it is efficient in attaining its ultimate goal: to cogently spread an alternative approach to the entire scheme of contemporary life.In order to accomplish this monstrous task, Huxley utilizes his immense knowledge on the fields of oriental philosophy. He creates the character of Wll Farnaby, a journalist from an England newspaper, and sends him on his way to Pala, an isolated island over the coast of Asia, on a journey is one of discovery and enlightenment. Once in there, he finds the natives friendly and surprisingly hospitable. Their purpose is to edify his perceptions, and change his true nature. Together, the palanese (Huxley himself) attempt to imprint within his mind their own interpretation of reality.Huxley’s tale about a utopian society based in oriental philosophy is not a fictional narrative in its traditional sense. It is, instead, a brilliant, creative, and mind warping essay about the current state of occidental civilization.

  • Preeta
    2019-05-16 11:11

    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 (muscle men, peter pans) but find ways to allow peaceful interaction. There is no monopolistic forcing of one's ways on others but continuously appropriate and attentive choices made by an intellectually and humanely informed population, all the way from children to adults. This book gets at an essential that many of us have not taken the time to absorb - but that is evident in the background should we choose to make the effort to observe it - like the saying the democracy depends on a well informed electorate and Albert Einstein's quote: "peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding."I choose to believe that the ending is just the future truth being revealed by the moksha-medicine, and that Will wakes up and takes actions that allow the little heaven on earth to still be in existence, resilient to the ever-present outside forces trying to get in and corrupt/conquer. It harks to the daily fight each of us undergoes since we were born. That is the beauty of the ending - you can make up your own!

  • Nataša
    2019-04-30 15:14

    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 ovom sam razmišljala juče!?"...Yoga, meditacija, kontemplacija, pozitivan stav, prisutnost i uživanje u trenutku - ( genijalna ptica minah koja poziva na pažnju :) ), život u skladu sa prirodom...sve što se danas može naći u većini knjiga sa tematikom popularne psihologije...a opet pisano toliko ranije.. Znači da je suština ista :D

  • El
    2019-05-16 15:23

    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 shipwrecked on the imaginary island, Pala. Upon wandering around the island Will comes across others, and throughout the course of the book is given lectures from different members of the island in how their life is significantly better than the one Will left behind. I'm sure the exotic location wasn't enough for Will to realize he was probably in a better place.So the different members talk about all sorts of important and prevalent issues such as religion, industrialization, education, sex and birth control, and - oh yeah - drugs. They're shocked by Will's backwards ways and explain to him in nice ways just how much his lifestyle sucks and look, they're so much better. And it's not to say that they aren't better, but really, nothing happens but a lot of talking and I have enough talking in my day-to-day life and don't feel any better or smarter for it.I was disappointed, not in so much that the story sucked, but because really Huxley covered the same themes that he did in Brave New World. Except in Brave New World there was a plot and a story and some interesting stuff going on. This felt like Huxley was sort of sick of having Brave New World compared to Nineteen Eighty-Four so much that he wanted to write something "new" and "improved"... and now it's only being compared to... Brave New World.I wonder if Huxley was familiar with irony?

  • Alyssa
    2019-05-11 07:58

    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, most do so in a more subtle manner. There is nothing subtle in "Island" which is my biggest problem with it. While I agree with many of the ideas shown in the story, I felt that Huxley didn't present them, but preached them. The book left no room for the reader to form their own opinion on issues in modern society, instead they were told, repeatedly. This preaching seemed both at odds with the ideas Huxley was pushing, and weakened the rest of the story by sacrifing things such as well rounded characters. The reader only gets flat, static, characters who can all be catagorized as either the pro-Western culture characters,who are all portrayed as naive, ridiculus, or greedy, and the anti-Western culture characters, who are all portrayed as smart and sexy ideals.These elements made it so that while I agreed with many of Huxley's ideas, the heavy handed style weakened the force of both the message and the book as a whole.

  • Cecily
    2019-04-30 09:56

    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).

  • Damla
    2019-05-04 09:02

    3,87: Kitabın ortalama puanı. Düşük bir puan olmamakla birlikte, kesinlikle yüksek de değil. Hele ki bu kitap için...Bu kitap bana uzun zamandır yaşamadığım bir durumu yaşattı. Maksimum 30'ar sayfalık periyotlarla okuyabildim çünkü kitabın özündeki fikirler öyle yoğun ve düşündürücüydü ki daha fazlası yoruyordu. Her okuyuşumda kafamı allak bullak etmeyi başarıyordu zira. Öyle bölümler oldu ki defalarca kez yeniden okudum, her defasında da bana inanılmaz bir haz verdi.Huxley kesinlikle toplumu okumada çok üstün bir isim. Toplumların dününü, bugününü ve yarınını yıllar öncesinde görmüş gibi yansıtmış. Evet, bu kitap ütopya olarak nitelenebilecek bir dünyayı anlatıyor ancak bunu toplumların neden bu kadar bozulduğu ve yozlaştığı üzerinden ele aldığı için gerçek üstü olabilecek hiçbir unsur barındırmıyor. Toplumları yönetmek Huxley gibi düşünürlere bırakılsa gerçekten yaşamın her saniyesi bir zevk olur diye düşündüm. Okumanızı ve okutmanızı tavsiye ederim.

  • Lee
    2019-05-06 11:26

    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.

  • Arzu Altınanıt
    2019-05-18 10:14

    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.

  • Sara Zovko
    2019-04-23 16:05

    Huxley me uvijek ostavi bez riječi , probudi u meni toliko emocija i pokrene toliko pitanja. Malo je pisaca, malo je knjiga koji imaju tu moć.Huxley je shvatio život.

  • John
    2019-04-23 11:05

    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 likely to have read his more famous "Brave New World;" his last novel, "Island" is also worth a read. One of the lasting memories from the novel involved the talking parrots that inhabit Huxley's idyllic island, Pala. The parrots had been trained to remind the Palanese inhabitants to concentrate on the "here and now." Very good advice. The book can be a bit tedious at times, but I certainly enjoyed re-living the transformation of the book's main character, Will Farnaby, as he gradually comes to accept the more spiritual existence he finds on the island. Go ahead and give it a try... whether it's your first time reading, or you're diving back in after a long absence, it's definitely worth a read.

    2019-05-20 10:23

    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 and 50% nonexistent." In 1962! I quote "Alpha Plus for patching you up when you start to fall apart; but Delta Minus for keeping you healthy." He even states that things are this way because doctors get paid more for cures and not prevention! Why hasn't this been fixed if mere authors knew about it in 1962?Needless to say the best society is taking the best of modern technology but leaving the materialism and adding individual treatment for the greater good. Utopia yes, but utterly unattainable.

  • Jenni
    2019-05-17 14:19

    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'm not sure I would like to live in this Buddhist-infused community, but I certainly do admire many of the qualities. All in all, the book is a bit too critical - the basic story line is superceded by the political descriptions, almost like a series of lectures strung together loosely by a series of conversations with a little day-to-day living inbetween. Makes you think, but not especially entertaining...

  • Matthew
    2019-05-22 10:23

    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 was intriguing. It gets 2 stars instead of 1 because I do appreciate Huxley's writing and his criticism of both Western and Eastern culture. His solution however, is ridiculous.

  • Erik Graff
    2019-05-14 09:06

    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.

  • Dan McG
    2019-05-11 09:00

    Huxley became a big proponent of mushrooms later in life, and a lot this book just reads like him explaining their benefits.