Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I read this great dystopian book in my attempt to tick off great 20th century novels one by one. The conceptual aspect of the world Huxley envisions is imaginative, fascinating, and occasionally brilliant--government which controls its subjects through genetic engineering aided by pleasure, oblivion and ecstasy. Rather than pain and repression keeping people down, conformity, free love, and constant engagement of the senses are the weapons wielded by the powers that be.
Huxley's modern writing style, jumping around from one place and person to another at a lightning-quick pace, is fun to read and the book went by breezily and with a good deal of excitement.
But I just wasn't convinced by Huxley's characters, who were all rather detached and unpleasant (as opposed to the MCs in "1984" whom one just loves and identify with so much) nor did I buy his rather prudish concerns with the fate of humanity. Yes, it's true that we like to distract ourselves from life with drugs and sex, but no, the "everybody has everybody" philosophy his society espouses, and the breaking down of clans, friendships and family units such a philosophy entails, would never go over so easily with any populace, no matter when or where. We are too clinging, too imperfect.
I think Lois Lowry's YA masterpiece"The Giver" is a much, much better stab at the same concept--a world regulated without pain or loss, but without love also.
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