Brave New World is thought provoking but not terribly enjoyable.
One of the nice things about this 52 Books in 52 Weeks project is that I’m getting caught up on all sorts of books that have been on my reading list for years that I’ve never quite gotten around to reading. Not only am I reading at a faster pace than ever but I’m also a little more conscious of what I’m reading in an effort to keep this list somewhat diverse.
So we come to Brave New World. This has been on my To-Be-Read shelf for five years now, not so much because I wanted to read it, but because it’s a common frame of reference that I was always stumbling across without ever being able to fully appreciate.
Having read it, I now get the references. It is, in fact, a novel that remains relevant. Huxley envisions a dystopian future in which social and economic castes are predetermined using genetic manipulation and a highly medicated population who eschew original thought or negative emotions in pursuit of relentless happiness and distraction. It is, on many levels, a prescient warning.
But it’s also kind of a drag to read. All of the characters are detestable and Huxley’s style is not particularly engaging. As a result, the book felt a bit like a chore. It does, however, possess the virtue of brevity.