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by Aldous Huxley

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In Island, his last novel, Huxley transports us to a Pacific island where, for 120 years, an ideal society has flourished. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala and events begin to move when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked

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In Island, his last novel, Huxley transports us to a Pacific island where, for 120 years, an ideal society has flourished. Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala and events begin to move 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.

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Saturday Review of Literature
A mirror in which modern man can see all that is rotten in his society and himself.
Saturday Review
“A mirror for modern man. . . . Should be read and reread.”

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Chapter One

"Attention," a voice began to call, and it was as though an oboe had suddenly become articulate. "Attention," it repeated in the same high, nasal monotone. "Attention."

Lying there like a corpse in the dead leaves, his hair matted, his face grotesquely smudged and bruised, his clothes in rags and muddy, Will Farnaby awoke with a start. Molly had called him. Time to get up. Time to get dressed. Mustn't be late at the office.

"Thank you, darling," be said and sat up. A sharp pain stabbed at his right knee and there were other kinds of pain in his back, his arms, his forehead.

"Attention," the voice insisted without the slightest change of tone. Leaning on one elbow, Will looked about him and saw with bewilderment, not the gray wallpaper and yellow curtains of his London bedroom, but a glade among trees and the long shadows and slanting lights of early morning in a forest.


Why did she say, "Attention"?

"Attention. Attention," the voice insisted--how strangely, how senselessly!

"Molly?" he questioned, "Molly?"

The name seemed to open a window inside his head. Suddenly, with that horribly familiar sense of guilt at the pit of the stomach, he smelt formaldehyde, he saw the small brisk nurse hurrying ahead of him along the green corridor, heard the dry creaking of her starched clothes. "Number fifty-five," she was saying, and then halted, opened a white door. He entered and there, on a high white bed, was Molly. Molly with bandages covering half her face and the mouth hanging cavernously open. "Molly," he had called, Molly . . ." His voice had broken, and he was crying, wasimploring now, "My darling!" There was no answer. Through the gaping mouth the quick shallow breaths came noisily, again, again. "My darling, my darling . . ." And then suddenly the hand he was holding came to life for a moment. Then was still again.

"It's me," he said, "it's Will."

Once more the fingers stirred. Slowly, with what was evidently an enormous effort, they closed themselves over his own, pressed them for a moment and then relaxed again into lifelessness.

"Attention," called the inhuman voice. "Attention,"

It bad been an accident, be hastened to assure himself. The road was wet, the car had skidded across the white line. It was one of those things that happen all the time. The papers are full of them; he had reported them by the dozen. "Mother and three children killed in head-on crash . . ." But that was beside the point, The point was that, when she asked him if it was really the end, he had said yes; the point was that less than an hour after she bad walked out from that last shameful interview into the rain, Molly was in the ambulance, dying.

He hadn't looked at her as she turned to go, hadn't dared to look at her. Another glimpse of that pale suffering face might have been too much for him. She bad risen from her chair and was moving slowly across the room, moving slowly out of his life. Shouldn't he call her back, ask her forgiveness, tell her that he still loved her? Had he ever loved her?

For the hundredth time the articulate oboe called him to attention.

Yes, had he ever really loved her?

"Good-bye, Will," came her remembered whisper as she turned back on the threshold. And then it was she who bad said it--in a whisper, from the depths of her heart. "I still love you, Will--in spite of everything."

A moment later the door of the flat closed behind her almost without a sound. The little dry click of the latch, and she was gone.

He had jumped up, bad run to the front door and opened it, bad listened to the retreating footsteps on the stairs. Like a ghost at cockcrow, a faint familiar perfume lingered vanishingly on the air. He closed the door again, walked into his gray-and-yellow bedroom and looked out the widow. A few seconds passed, then he saw her crossing the pavement and getting into the car. He heard the shrill grinding of the starter, once, twice, and after that the drumming of the motor. Should be open the window? "Wait, Molly, wait," he heard himself shouting in imAgination. The window remained unopened; the car began to move, turned the comer and the street was empty. It was too late. Too late, thank God! said a gross derisive voice. Yes, thank God! And yet the guilt was there at the pit of his stomach. The guilt, the gnawing of his remorse--but through the remorse he could feel a horrible rejoicing. Somebody low and lewd and brutal, somebody alien and odious who was yet himself was gleefully thinking that now there was nothing to prevent him from having what be wanted. And what he wanted was a different perfume, was the warmth and resilience of a younger body. "Attention," said the oboe. Yes, attention. Attention to Babs's musky bedroom, with its strawberry-pink alcove and the two windows that looked onto the Charing Cross Road and were looked into, all night long, by the winking glare of the big sky sign for Porter's Gin on the opposite side of the street. Gin in royal crimson-and for ten seconds the alcove was the Sacred Heart, for ten miraculous seconds the flushed face so close to his own glowed like a seraph's, transfigured as though by an inner fire of love. Then came the yet profounder transfiguration of darkness. One, two, three, four . . . Ah God, make it go on forever! But punctually at the count of ten the electric clock would turn on another revelation-but of death, of the Essential Horror; for the lights, this time, were green, and for ten hideous seconds Babs's rosy alcove became a womb of mud and, on the bed, Babs herself was corpse-colored, a cadaver galvanized into posthumous epilepsy.

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Island 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
JakeNJ More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book a lot, but having said that, I actually thought it was a continuation of "Brave New World". In Brave New World, Huxley mentions the Island several times. It is a place for those who have not been able to adapt to the Brave New World society of pre-conditioned and expected behavior, thinking and lifestyle. The Island is the place for those who tend to be individuals and think for themselves. It is not a form of punishment, but rather a way to have those who have not given in to Soma and the Rules of Brave New World, to still have a place to live among others like them and express themselves, yet be productive human beings. Well, this Island is not that. Island is about a man who ends up in this "paradise" and people who truly have found synergy in the way they live, interact and love. The place where they have found a way, as many try, to "harness human spirit". They tend to think of themselves as individuals, but working towards common goal and trying to better their society while still keeping their individual thinking. It all sounds great and as many have tried, to create a perfect world, but once again, we see that it is not possible. Not because it just can't be done, but because there is always someone, those, who tend to want something different from the rest. Whether it is good, bad, evil or however someone wants to judge that behavior, there are always those who do not give in or don't want to go along with the rest, no matter how good it might be. Religious: The book, or better yet the society, that Huxley describes is pointing out that all the organized religions have a flow. At the same time, it points out that Buddhism allows the individual to be part of society, but still be an individual in their own sense of being. Well, I don't know enough about Buddhism to know for sure if that is the way of the Buddha or this is just their, Pala's way of Buddhism. I am pretty sure that if the book wanted to take a point of religion or lack of religion is either too constrictive or too relaxed, respectively, wouldn't it apply to most or all? Just pointing out that Huxley, in this fictional Utopian paradise, describes Buddhism or their form of Buddhism as a way of living in "here and now", therefore enjoying every moment and not some distant eternal life.  Spirituality: Through my martial arts training, I have read, taken and tried multiple forms of medication and ways of zen being. In the book, they talk in some depth about how meditating or inducing subconscious thinking, either naturally or through moksha-medicine, they are able to find their inner being, restore balance and "be happy". Everyone on the island can and should be able to induce this state at any given time. Huxley's fascination with describing induced Utopia involves suggestive or subconscious state. In Brave New World we have seen Soma and here through Moksha-medicine.  Social Structure: Even though they live in more or less equal society, if that was ever possible, they do have royalties and they do have those with more than normal human "greed" and "ambitions". In Pala, they don't have Socialism and they don't Capitalism. They live in harmony, where everyone contributes to society, to better that society and try various tasks, jobs that will better channel their natural ability and peek their interest for full satisfaction. They claim to have found a way to channel Muscle Man and Peter Pan types into challenges that make them non dangerous to society and also valuable in the sense of those abilities. It is a great way to ponder on something that can be done as such, but this is a fiction and in reality, there are those who can not be tamed and therefore lash out and develop on their natural human character. Human spirit is not possible to harness, condition or tame. Whether that spirit is good, to be an individual to strive for something that is not available or that spirit is to do evil and dwell on all that is wrong in the world, it cannot be contained. That is the nature behind any "Utopian" thinking and the problem behind it.  The human nature is to want to do what it tends to do with unpredictable and unconditional thought process. Even in every "type" and every "character" of specific group, there are still multiple personal characteristics to each and every being. Even in the same family, same upbringing and same genetic structure, you can never predict what and how each one of the kids, even those who are exactly alike, will react in any given situation and preventing that behavior, would be almost, and actually, impossible. Overall, I really liked this book. It is not a fast reading page turner, but yet, it is a page turner nevertheless and I really enjoyed it for many reasons. I also kept thinking and comparing it a lot to "Celestine Prophesy". Somehow the spiritual aspect of the book kept remind me of that novel. If you are expecting something, as I have, you might be disappointed at first, but yet, I found it to be very well delivered message and a very interesting topic. I am glad that I picked it up and even though, not what I expected originally, still enjoyed it a lot. I was torn, because I wish there was 4.5 starts instead of like(4) and love(5) decision.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Huxley really should have written this as an opinion essay instead of a novel, because an essay is basically what it is. The plot is simple enough: Utopian island under siege by a power-hungry and unenlightened rest of the world. But there comes a point, and pretty quickly, at that, when one cannot help but notice that Huxley's version of Utopia is basically a hippie/beatnik-style world, complete with halucinogenic mushrooms and tantrik lovemaking--incidentally, at least half of the dialogue in the book is some islander explaining why the 'Yoga of Love' is so great. Furthermore, at least ninety percent of the book's dialogue is in page-length paragraphs, giving one the impression that people in Utopia never tire of rambling on about every single last detail of their society and what makes it tick... and somewhere in that paragraph of neverending rant, they will probably mention the tantrik stuff or the mushrooms. I would like to say that there's more to this book than that, but I'd be lying, so I'll stop here.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book. In my opinion, it is significantly better than Brave New World (although I did think that was a great book as well). Pala is the only utopia i've ever read about that I wouldn't mind living in. Similar in a way to some of Salinger's later work involving the Glass family, mainly Seymour, in so far as there is a lot of discussion of Easter Religions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I came to Huxley through 'Brave New World' like many, I'm sure, and have found that few of his other works are commensurate. However, 'Island' is more thought provoking and consciousness invoking that BNW. It may not be as overtly profound but the ideas he is forwarding make you stop and examine your own life, the way you were brought up and think about things. This is clearly a very important work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Aldous Huxley, an author that realized reality and envisioned the future, shows an incredible talent of portarying the world as it stood in the 1930's. The description of Pala, Huxley's own Garden of Eden, will make your mouth water and imagination sour. It must be read between the lines, but Huxley's philosophy is screaming from this book. IN high school i read Brave New World, which was exactly what he DIDN'T want to happen. But Island is his own vision of what life should be--freedom to be who you want to be, living in the here and now, and being fully aware of all that surrounds you (which could range from the grass under your feet to the little gurgles in your stomach). Huxley is a magnificient author who has captured my interest in the ever changing society, has opened my eyes to the 'real' world, and has provoked me to do some writing of my own. I strongly suggest this book to anyone trying to find that better place, but know too well that its not there. Here it is, in this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She purred in amusement. "Bye, Fleckpaw!" She meowed and returned to camp. <p> The others returned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Leaves* -,-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
-_- Honestly this personal lag i have is getting anyoing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Shocker(sarcasm)) He forms ice and water spikes and shoots them at the kraken
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TraceyMadeley More than 1 year ago
A Utopian Vision Huxley's fictional island paradise is called Pala and it is where the journalist Will Farnaby is washed up on the beach. He has been sent to encourage the oil companies claim to exploit the oil reserves on the island. The first people he meets are Dr MacPhail and the young Raj Murugan. His mother is the Rani and controlling influence in his minority. She wants to use the oil reserves to finance a Crusade of the Spirit and so purge the islands of 'hypnotism, pantheism and free love.'  Murugan seeks to establish his authority by siding with his mother against the 'old fogies' of the constitutional government in order to modernise and industrialise the island. Palanese life is simplicity itself. They grow food co-operatively in planted terraces. The only industry on the island is the cement works and people work there part time in-between the forest, agriculture and the saw mill. Pala has a system of self governing units, geographical, economic and political. They also have no established church, religion is based on immediate gratification and no unjustifiable dogma.  Children and birth control become an important part of the system as the island does not produce more children than it can realistically feed, clothe and educate. In addition children are brought up in Mutual Adoption Clubs with between 15 - 25 couples who share responsibility in bringing up the children of the group. At 4 or 5 all children undergo a physical and psychological assessment to ascertain any problems with shyness or over aggressive behaviour. Steps are then taken to readjust this behaviour and integrate them into Palanese life. Crimes does not occur very often, but when it does it is dealt with through counselling in the MAC and if necessary medication. They see Western medicine as largely primitive, although they value antibiotics and sewerage systems  for stopping the spread if disease they see our cure rather than prevention. Instead they look at a holistic system which takes into account what you eat, think, feel, hear, how you make love and how you view you place in the world. By looking at the person as a whole they take a more rounded and Buddhist influenced view of the individual.  The final chapter is given over to Wills experience of what we may term 'magic mushrooms' explaining both the euphoric and terrifying experience associated with the hallucinogen. Despite the prospect of change for Pala, Huxley still ends the novel positively. Will has experienced something totally unique and credible and due to this experience his thinking has been changed. What ever happens to Pala, Will Farnaby will never be the same again.
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