Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs, all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his
Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece. (Summary and book cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
Though required to read this book for school, this was one of the books that I compulsively read and stayed up late to finish long before the deadline. “Brave New World” is an anti-utopia and was the first book of its kind that I ever read. I have been haunted by the vividness of the last scene in the book for many years since.
The book is fascinating psychologically and I think I appreciate that more as an adult. From the biological engineering to the conformity, sleep conditioning, soma-hallucinations and prevalence of sex, the psychological implications of many actions in the World State is flipped sideways from the society we know. This is a book so extreme in its depiction of a utopia I think it’s a fantastic introduction for younger audiences to the theoretical discussions it will prompt. I certainly think this book has a significant place in discussions of utopias, but it has the subtlety of a hammer to the head.
P.S. A lot of the references will be more powerful if you are familiar with Shakespeare.
Warning: Contains violence.
Rating: 5 stars!
Who should read it? Anyone who hasn’t yet and particularly younger audiences (early teens) who are looking for a book that will challenge their cultural comfort.