Aldous Huxley’s novel ‘Island’ is reviewed here by Mr Steed:
“Huxley’s vision of a utopian society on the fictional Pacific island of Pala is more challenging than captivating. Huxley’s Pala cherry-picks the best of Eastern mysticism and the benefits of Western civilisation, such as medicine and electricity – although his device of the two founder fathers being the Buddhist Raja and an enlightened Scottish doctor is somewhat artificial and a bit clunky at times. The happiness of this society is founded on good education, physical exercise, meditational and yoga techniques, effective birth control – and thus sustainable development, and sexual liberation and drug-taking.
In outlining his idyllic society, Huxley holds up a mirror to our own through the arrival of Will Farnaby, a disillusioned cynical journalist, and through the young ambitious future Raja, Murugan, who plans to bring Pala all the benefits of Western civilisation: industrialisation, consumerism, militarisation, unhappiness.
There is half a pretence that there is a plot to this novel, but it is thin and quite predictable. The strength of the novel is in the descriptions of Palanese society.
This is one of those books that I am glad that I have read, even though it was at times rather tough going. In his enthusiasm to outline his vision, Huxley drifts into an evangelical style that bordered on preaching – but perhaps that just goes with the territory.”
It would be extremely interesting to hear others’ views on this novel, please remember to leave your thoughts here.