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Island [Paperback]

Aldous Huxley , David Bradshaw
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 April 2005


For over a hundred years the Pacific island of Pala has been the scene of a unique experiment in civilisation. Its inhabitants live in a society where western science has been brought together with eastern philosophy and humanism to create a paradise on earth. When cynical journalist, Will Farnaby, arrives to search for information about potential oil reserves on Pala, he quickly falls in love with the way of life on the island. Soon the need to complete his mission becomes an intolerable burden. In counterpoint to Brave New World and Ape and Essence, in Island Huxley gives us his vision of utopia.

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Island + The Doors of Perception: And Heaven and Hell + Brave New World
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; Re-issue edition (7 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099477777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099477778
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'One of the truly great philosophical novels' -- The Times

Book Description

'One of the truly great philosophical novels' The Times

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huxley's Philosophy is Perennial 15 Mar 2008
By A Kant
This is the antithesis to Brave New World and a deeper exploration of the naturalistic vision that Huxley left us with, at the climax of his stunning novel 30 years earlier. It is a thing of beauty. I doubt anyone could read this book wihtout feeling a little loathing at technological and industrial marvels we are privileged with. You will feel compelled to set aside some time for the simple things in life and forget about the ones that involve money, without feeling guilty.

It seems incredible that Brave new world is nearly 80 years old and Island, born with the Hippy era, almost 50. To me, these works ring truer today than any other utopian works. It is Huxley's grasp of the human psyche that makes us believe such societies could endure. He shows us not how we could be forced to exist within them them, but whatever your political stance, why you might be happier if you did so. Despite his failing eyesight, Huxley saw a lot of things coming and wrote his books HD-ready!
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ideal society that would never work 20 Jan 2004
Brave New World is the Book in which Huxley gained a reputable name in the world of literature, Island is often seen as the sequel to Brave New World in the sense that it is Brave New World's exact opposite.
In Island, Huxley portray's his ideal society which is free from weapons, oppression and fear and is replaced by holistic health care, A form of Buddism and a life enhancing drug (which Huxley novel would be complete without it?). Huxley seems to be trying to convince people to get rid of their weapons and hatred and instead rule our lives with logic and caring.
The island is described from an outsiders (the main narrative is given from someone who was shipwrecked on the island) view of the surroundings, this is very usefull as it highlights all of the differences between "our civilised" society and the one Huxley portrays (as better). This book may be seen as an arguement against totalitareanism and even Christianity offering free thinking, expression, anarchy and Buddism in its place.
In my list of top ten books, Island features very highly.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I read 1984 and brave new world, and as I am sure was the case for most people, my perspectives on society, science, and progress were altered, irreversably, or so I thought. These great dystopian novels coloured and darkened my perception of our modern landscape of cctv, GM foods and shrink wrapped pre-proccessed art. Then I read Island and had my optimism reaffirmed. Island shows us that a society based on anarchist principles could conceivably be a better one than our own, without reading like psuedo philosophical new age toss. Huxley is beautifully persuesive in his writing, and manages seamlessly, to provide coherrent, intellegent arguments without ever fracturing the dramatic and engrossing narrative. I think everyone will connect with the main character's periodic visions of his fellow men as maggots, and even the seemingly pessimistic ending leaves you hopeful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meditiaton on mindfulness 16 Oct 2010
Journalist and life long cynic Will Farnaby wakes up to the insistent call 'Attention' after being shipwrecked on the forbidden island of Pala, located geographically somewhere around Bali. Sent by the head of his paper, oil tycoon Aldehyde, to find out whether Pala will be easy to take over and exploit, Will finds himself in a world where the inner life is cherished and valued and even the birds in the trees have a part to play in reminding the inhabitants of this utopia how best to live and be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Island - Do not hesitate, read it!! 15 Oct 2009
I was assigned this novel to read for University, as part of a module based on 1960s literature.
The book was amazing; although it's not Huxley's most famous novel, it doesn't mean that it's not wonderfully written! He is an awesome author!
The novel is about a man who works for an oil-company and has been sent from Britain to persuade the peoples of an isolated island that they should allow this corporation to use their oil. When the protagonist (I forget his name) arrives on the island he finds that they are living a 'strange' utopian existence; initially he mocks their way of life, but ultimately he realises that it is capitalism that is flawed and not the communism-based lifestyle the people of Pala favour.
By the time you have finished reading this novel, you will know a lot more about Buddhism and Communism! I REALLY enjoyed this text, which is why I have taken the trouble to write this review!
I don't want to spoil the ending but I will say that it isn't your conventional happy ending, but you won't want it any other way!! :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that everyone should read at least once 25 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I first read this book when I was 15, and it had a profound and lasting influence on my life. Rereading it now, more than twenty years later, I still find it moving.
The characters in this book are a bit too good to be true: nobody is that well-balanced, that reasonable, that much in touch with themselves. And yet, when you read this book, you can't help feeling that people could be that well-balanced, could be that reasonable, could be that much in touch with themselves and with others if only they were given the chance, if only they were given the right sort of upbringing.
I can never decide whether this book is optimistic or pessimistic in its view of life. A little of both, I think. Huxley's optimism about human nature and the human spirit shines through, but it's tinged with a feeling of disappointment and concern for the future.
Read it. It's not some New Age psycho-babble crap. It may not be your cup of tea, but it's definitely worth the time it takes to read it and to think about what it's saying.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gift
Read this book back in the dark ages when I was trawling through the recommended must read list. Bought as a gift for a good friend.
Published 3 months ago by treforjevans
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
There are a couple of 1 or 2-star reviews of this book, but the majority are glowing in their praise. Read more
Published 4 months ago by K. Picken
5.0 out of 5 stars A Utopian Vision
Huxley's fictional island paradise is called Pala and it is where the journalist Will Farnaby is washed up on the beach. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tracey Madeley
Island can be read in four ways; as a poor novel, a thread-bare utopian manifesto, a (borderline)pseudo-intellectual essay on humanity or (as I did) a thought provoking... Read more
Published 8 months ago by JP
2.0 out of 5 stars It's no Brave New World
I read this as it's supposed to offer the antidote to Brave New World and while it does that by offering a utopian world rather than a dystopian world the contrast is very... Read more
Published 10 months ago by T. Howarth
4.0 out of 5 stars Huxley's utopian vision
After reading Brave New World and the Doors of Perception I thought I'd give this book a go after reading positive reviews. Read more
Published 10 months ago by magijack777
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant societal creation
Sense of impending doom from so early on. Not entirely satisfying as a novel but a brilliant creation of a utopic society that will give us all something to think about. Read more
Published 13 months ago by P. Newey
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a novel
The author tried to make a novel from something that was not suitable for it. The ideas expressed in the book are quite interesting, and I'd be delighted to live in a society such... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Giorgio Brocco
5.0 out of 5 stars Huxley's island
Huxley wrote this book towards the end of his life. Having written extensively on many subjects , he turned his life experience to writing one of the best utopian novels ever. Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2010 by S. A. Eeles
3.0 out of 5 stars Island
I find it hard to review this book. It stimulated a lot of thought for me but I question whether it is a great novel. Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2009 by G. Hill
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