Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release date: first published in 1932
Rating: ★★★ .5
Genre: Science Fiction - Dystopia
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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...
Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.
I asked a newly-made friend what was his favourite book and I told him not to think about it too much. To say the first book that came to his mind. And he told me about Huxley's Brave New World. Obviously, I've heard about this classic before, I even own a physical copy, but I have never picked it up. And I kind of regret it now.
This book presents a new world, an utopia where the main purpose is to satisfy the human's every need, in complete opposition to Orwell's dystopia 1984. The society presented in this book is really different from our own because the existence of parents is abolished, babies are made through genetic engineering and are brainwashed into education. When they reach to adulthood, every human being has its own purpose determined by their social class. They are all happy and when they are not, they take 'happy pills' that makes everything perfect once again.
Going into this book, I didn't know what to expect. But I certainly wasn't disappointed. The first part of the book mainly focuses on the ideology upon which the society was built with every rule and social aspect. We get a glimpse at the characters, while the author directs his attention to elements of world-building. I greatly enjoyed this part of the book, the background of this society, its concerns and joys, its pillars and base. The descriptions feel real even though the book has it's science-fiction vibe, the reader gets the feeling that all these are possible. Moreover, the world-building is fairly interesting and unique because you don't know what to expect next, but then the focus shifts from this to the characters where things got a tad boring for myself.
Regarding the characters ... well, there isn't a great variety of them. The book is centered around three lives: Bernard Marx, the outcast who feels more than he should which brings him a lot of trouble, Lenina Crowe, typical society girl that is faced with rejection and John, the stranger who was born by a mother and is brought to the new world. I cannot say that I completely connected with any of these characters, but to a certain Bernard was the kind of protagonist you would expect to do more, to exceed his boundaries and you wait and wait and wait, but ... it doesn't happen. I think this was my problem with the story, I expected greatness from the protagonists, but they remain plain.
The second half of the book was fairly boring and I expected more and when things were starting to get more interesting, boom! came the end and I was left with more craving and unsatisfied as long as the characters are concerned. The ending wasn't the best, but I can't say it was bad either. Just. It could have been more.
All in all, Brave New World was an interesting take on the recreation of the world. Even though I couldn't completely accept all its new elements and rules, I was content with the collective result. I recommend everybody to read this classic with an open mind because you never know ... You could actually ignore it. The writing style is simple, but still intriguing and it feels like the story flows precisely. You will be absorbed in this beautiful, cruel world and you will be left wanting for more.