Monday, May 28, 2007

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Audio Book)

Title: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley

Narrator: Michael York

Publisher: Audible

First Published: 1932

Running time: 8hrs, 14min, 23sec

Format: Audio Book

Rating: 4/10

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 distress...

Although this is acknowledged the world over as a seminal work, I have to admit that I was singularly unimpressed by Brave New World. It may be that I expected too much from it, but I’m not alone in expecting great things from a book hailed as a modern classic.

By chapter four, I felt that if I heard the phrase "Ending is better than mending" one more time, I would very likely scream! I also found the jumping around highly annoying, going from one conversation between two women, to a lecture by a Controller, to another conversation between some young men, to the sleep conditioning being pumped into the children's sleeping quarters, to the inner thoughts of another young man, often mid-sentence, was very frustrating and I did not like it. The first half-dozen chapters seemed like a potted history of how that version of the world was run, which was kind of interesting and essential to the understanding of the rest of the story, but left me wishing it would just move onto the actual plot now. By that point I hadn't yet even begun to identify with any of the characters... strangely, I never did get that sense of connection.

I didn't enjoy this one at all. In fact, the only reason I kept listening till the end was that Michael York is such an excellent reader! I just found the characters all to be vaguely ridiculous and the story itself rather preachy and very silly to the point of stupid. I didn't get anything at all from this supposedly "great" book except a profound sense of disappointment. About a third of it is taken up with Shakespeare quotes, seemingly in an attempt to justify the length of it by putting in something that really is wonderful and thus raise the tone of the novel. In my opinion it failed utterly to do so - the Shakespeare quotes were the only moments of quality in the entire thing. I really wish I hadn't bothered.


Blogger Izzy said...

I read this while I was doing my A Levels - I can't remember anything about it now, but I remember really liking it. I hadn't known anything about it before I picked it up and hadn't expected it to be so funny.

(I read 1984 at the same time, and absolutely detested that though)

12:14 pm  

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