Island

Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,223 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In his final novel - which he considered his most important - Aldous Huxley transports us to the remote Pacific island of Pala, where an ideal society has flourished for 120 years.

Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events are set in motion when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn't expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and - to his amazement - give him hope.

©1962 Aldous Huxley (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

" Island...holds the charm of Huxley's cultured prose and fertile mind." ( The Guardian)
What members say
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great narration for a great book.

Simon Vance does a great job of narrating Aldous Huxley's lesser known great work, Island. If you were like me and left slightly depressed by the dystopian universe portrayed in Huxley's more famous work, A Brave New World, then I highly recommend Island. The world of Island is the antithesis of A Brave New World, and lays out what Huxley viewed as a more perfect modern society. I'll leave my review there as to not spoil anything for you, just know that it's a good book, and that the quality of the narration is top notch.

131 people found this helpful

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Favorite Huxley work

Amazing book about self discovery, parallels to modern society, Utopianism, spiritualism and enlightenment. I highly recommend this book as a lighter more positive version of Huxley's Brave New World

50 people found this helpful

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Huxley shows complications of symbiotic society

A work even more pertinent today than when he first conceived it...a must read for anyone interested in creative solutions to societal ills...

14 people found this helpful

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Beautifully crafted development of world

I've been searching for some answers of how I ought to live through literature for quite some time now, desperately searching. The focus on development of characters, beautiful descriptions of scenes and an inevitable quality based on the circumstances all come together to explore the concepts naturally. The messages themselves are also able to be practiced as you go, leading to a better appreciation for the piece of literature itself as Huxley's œuvre draws to an end.

A comprehensive lesson on finding enjoyment in life.

58 people found this helpful

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Didn't like it

I wasn’t a big fan of this book. While the premise started off good enough the book soon changes from a story to a series of long speeches on society and values. As a result the plot doesn’t move much and there descriptions of the island of Pala are virtually non-existent much past the start. If you’re a philosophy student or into self-help, this book might peak your interest otherwise I would look elsewhere for entertainment.

8 people found this helpful

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Wonderful writing

This is a good book. I listened to the audio version - the reader was great but i think the book would better have been digested by reading the hard copy unstead of listening because of the "enlightenment" theme. You kinda need to slow down input in order to get the most out if a book like this. Glad i read it - may well come back and give it a second ho in hardcopy.

28 people found this helpful

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love this book

reading the final chapter alone was worth the wait, possibly the best description of the indescribable I am familiar with

16 people found this helpful

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A guide into buddhist philosophy disguised as novel

This book is tragically enlightening. If anybody has ever experimented with heart medicine they will rediscover themselves especially in the later chapters

25 people found this helpful

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Terrible plot

This book was not at all what I was expecting. I was expecting something with more plot, and less preaching. It felt like Huxley got really high and decided to make a fantasy island, but instead of following in-depth the lives of the people in this paradise, he has an outsider come in and get preached at for an agonizing 11 hours. This is a philosophy book. Do not read it if you want anything other than a philosophy book.

2 people found this helpful

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Certainly carries a message

The book started off so well for me. I was engaged by the story, and loved the narrator. But soon, it became so pedantic and doctrinaire that I kept wishing it would just end. Not that I disagree with the message - I just thought it was so heavy-handed.

I very much disliked the book "Atlas Shrugged" because I thought virtually all the characters were cardboard. So 2-dimensional. The virtuous capitalists whose only objective was to better mankind through their selfless (but expectantly and deservedly well-rewarded) efforts, but always thwarted by the proletariat parasites of the socialist American culture who insisted on stealing their talent and productivity for their lazy selves.

This book was the reflection on the opposite side of the mirror. Capitalism and progress was the enemy here. Will Farnaby, the protagonist, is a cynical journalist, shipwrecked on a utopian, and fictional island of Pala. The best of all worlds.

The technological advances of the west, without the materialism, greed competition, or militarism of the west. Once the story gets going, it seems like every question that the stranded protagonist (who has ulterior motives at heart, related to an oil deal that will upset and likely destroy the idyllic island's serenity), poses is solely intended to provide a platform or stage for the islanders to explain just how idyllic every aspect of their lives is - an outcome of their practical wisdom and eastern culture. After a while, it just became an eye-rolling exercise.

There is a story, but it's subordinate to the philosophy being put forth. The philosophy makes sense, and perhaps it's a plea by Huxley to avoid the dystopia described in his "Brave New World" .

I just thought it was way too heavy-handed, and after a while, got so tedious that I found it a real chore getting to the end of the book.

2 people found this helpful