Bleak is the word that comes to mind when I think of this novel. I first read 'Brave New World' as an impressionable fifteen year-old girl and was equal parts horrified and despondent.
Typically, Huxley wrote in a dramatic style and he was always brilliant with language. BNW isn't his best book, imo (hence 4 stars), but this modern classic, parody remains impactful, profound and relevant - considering the direction today's world has taken (the discussion possibilities are certainly wide).
The strong theme is: industrialisation and how it's altered and taken control over society, negating the need for individualism.
From Huxley's perspective, post WW1 was a world without heart and soul. His main source of despair was Henry Ford's influence and as a sensitive, passionate and creative artist, he mourned the loss of freedom in this new, consumer-driven, factory powered, Big Brother society.
The setting for BNW was London, around seven hundred years AF. (After Ford, instead of AD...such was Ford's influence, in Huxley's eyes.) It depicted the need for status quo - for the greater good of 'the community'. This included: absolute goverment control, total automation, loss of human connection, no need of committment, manufactured babies (Eugenics), mind-control methods (including the common use of feel-good drugs), a deliberately created caste system, specific and unquestioned work roles, the devaluation of elderly citizens etc. In BNW an abundance of leisure time encouraged people to be consumers and thereby, become increasingly reliant on 'the system' (never questioning because of mind conditioning...and round and round it goes).
However, even within BNW, some felt displaced, wanted to challenge and ultimately rebel. These characters, their thought-provoking dialogue and their actions were Huxley's means of expressing his fears, grief, disgust and defiance. What a powerful message, and yes, as an adult (no longer the girl), I do see parallels in 2018, sadly.
- Hardcover: 264 pages
- Publisher: EVERYMAN - TRADE; 1 edition (2 December 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841593591
- ISBN-13: 978-1841593593
- Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.1 x 21.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 422 g
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)