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Island Paperback – October 20, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (October 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061561797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061561795
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A mirror for modern man. . . . Should be read and reread.” (Saturday Review)

From the Back Cover

In his final novel, which he considered his most important, Aldous Huxley transports us to the remote Pacific island of Pala, where an ideal society has flourished for 120 years.

Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events are set in motion 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.


More About the Author

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) is the author of the classic novels Island, Eyeless in Gaza, and The Genius and the Goddess, as well as such critically acclaimed nonfiction works as The Devils of Loudun, The Doors of Perception, and The Perennial Philosophy. Born in Surrey, England, and educated at Oxford, he died in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

I kept reading this book because on some level I was just waiting for something to happen.
J. Edgar Mihelic
Huxley had an interesting view of what a society can become when it takes the best of the Eastern and Western worlds combine.
akanae4
It's pretty boring, the plot doesn't make much sense and the main character's ideas are often all over the place.
Philip_Dru

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Muzza on November 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you judge this book solely on its literary merit, you will be disappointed. There isn't much of a plot here, and characterization lacks adequate depth. If on the other hand, you regard this novel as a way to frame a whole set of ideas, you'll be greatly rewarded. Along with Thomas Mann, Huxley is perhaps the most intelligent and well rounded man in the world of 20th century literature, and this work is a culmination of a lifetime of thought about society, science, and the relationship between them. Huxley was a man who actually cared about humankind, and in this book he tells us what it would take to create a perfect society. He seems to have taken great pains to stay clear of science fiction and wrote the most practical utopia he could conceive based on the scientific and technological achievements of his day. Forty years later, the world of Pala lies well within our realm of technological possibility. So why don't we build it? What Huxley indirectly shows is that even when we can do it, we are not willing to pay the price for it. In a world where the market is king, and freedom without responsibility is seen as a given, Pala looks as distant and quaint as the SF worlds of Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Even if Pala is not feasible on a nationwide or worldwide scale, this novel has important things to teach us as individuals. It convincingly shows how we are conditioned by our environment and upbringing to behave a certain way. If we change or overcome that conditioning our lives will be transformed, even as we are encroached by the cruel world around us. Island is sure to give food for thought for a long time to come.
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64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Madan on November 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Island, in my opinion is probably Aldous Huxley's best work, and also one of the best books I have ever read. For those of you interested in spirituality, this would probably be the book to get started on. It has a good way of telling you what peace and the "Buddha Nature" really does feel like. The book is about a utopian society on an island called Pala. Will Farnaby, 'suffering from the disease called Civilization', lands on the island, in the hope of getting the bid for a lucrative oil contract, but the more of the island he sees, the more he realizes that the island must be saved from civilization at all costs. To say more would be to spoil the story for those of you who have not read it. Needless to say, I liked this book a lot more than I liked Brave New World, or any of his other books. I feel that this was his most pointed attack on our way of life. It can be read and re-read a million times. The ideas contained in it are really refreshing, so refreshing and original that I'm still trying to come up with well founded criticisms. This book is well worth the price, now if only there were more authors who could write like this.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book lying in a closed dusty box in the basement where all of my dad's old books are. I had heard tons about The Doors of Perception so decided to give this one a try. If I say that this book changed by whole life it would be saying too much. But if definitely makes me wonder why we, the entire human race, are rotting away to glory when a "formula" for better and more fulfilling way to live is out there for us to take. It's in this very book. After reading this book I doubt there would be anybody who would not question the existing, decadent values and morals that bind us all. What a perfect mixture of eastern and western wisdom! I really recommend that this book should be a part of the curriculum in schools throughout the world. Oh ya the part about the mushrooms in that temple as part of the initiation process and the accompanying Shiva Vedic chants...it really can be the most awesome out of body experience you can have. Trust me I am from India. Bottom Line: Go read it and ask everyone you know to read it too. Spread the message and who knows maybe one day we could all experience Huxley's Utopia.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Steven W. Cooper on February 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the work of a social planner - and not the kind that coordinates seating arrangements and makes out guest lists. The culmination of several explorations in cultural engineering, Island is a how-to book describing the requisite customs, attitudes, and institutions for a society devoted to the positive development and individuation of its citizens.

In this book Huxley subverts all the conventional storytelling devices to make his points. Plot and characterization really are afterthoughts here unless they assist in some way to get an idea across. All the relevant conclusions that have been carefully and thoughtfully arrived at over an entire lifetime are given airing here mostly in awkward asides. Huxley is reaching the end of his life, and there's an urgency in the prose that resembles a harangue. But if we recall the ambitious intention here - to lay out a blueprint for a society truly dedicated to individual liberty and liberation - it seems inane to complain about the lack of conventional storytelling devices.

In this book we can see that Huxley has done all the heavy lifting long before the hippies came on the scene and turned drug-taking into a recreational activity - invalidating drug use for any other purpose in the minds of a majority of people. Many of these same people now seek to invalidate Huxley's crowning achievement because the writing can't be enjoyed as an escapist, recreational activity. This paradox is the result of an all-too-human tendency to manipulate facts and use them to argue against any idea that might contradict their ingrained beliefs.

Of course, some will argue that their problem with Island is not that it can't be enjoyed recreationally, but that it is the leftist ravings and ramblings of a drugged-out kook.
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