I’ve been meaning to read Brave New World for years, and I wish I’d done so sooner – this novel is intriguing, disturbing and surprisingly engaging as well. The reader is shown round a world in which technological progression has reached the point at which babies are replicated in bottles, growth stunted or assisted according to their destined caste, and then conditioned as children to believe as their caste should. Everybody is happy because they have no wish to be anything other than they are – and when they are unhappy, there is the intoxicating drug soma to distract them for a while.
Bernard Marx, however, is a misfit, trying to reject the ideals of instant gratification and mindless enjoyment and to think, and feel, for himself. When he brings a ‘savage’ back from a reservation outside their utopia, questions start to be asked and human passions begin to cause turmoil in the stagnant, content society.
The main characters are well-developed and interesting, as well as the overarching ideas, and the way Huxley’s society in this novel views the human past with revulsion forms a challenging reversal of viewpoint. Brave New World strikes a disturbingly relevant note in our own increasingly materialistic, instant-gratification-demanding world, and really makes you rethink your values.
Overall, very thought-provoking and well worth a read, if you haven’t already. Also, I have no idea what's meant to be on the cover of my edition. I think I can see a face, but maybe I'm just imagining it? Guesses welcome below!
Next up: The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry