From George Orwell's 1984 to Sarah Hall's Daughters of the North, I've been known to love a good dystopian novel. Brave New World was one of my first forays into the genre, and I was thrilled to re-read it for English 101, our Modern Classics Book Club. 10 years later, the writing is just as eloquent--just as eccentric and unique--as I remember. I mutilated my copy a bit, and took to underlining gorgeous passages like this one:
"The sultry darkness into which the students now followed him was visible and crimson, like the darkness of closed eyes on a summer's afternoon."
Meanwhile, the repeated allusions to Shakespeare had me in heaven. Huxley was also known to admire T.S. Eliot, and nowhere is this more visible than in the third chapter of the book, which segues into multiple and separate lines of narrative: an incredible effect. As far as the story itself, like Lauren, I feel that the key to enjoying the book in 2010 is to avoid harping on the fallacies of Huxley's predictions. If you can treat his universe as an alternate reality (how very Lost of me), you will be rewarded. The allegory of the book borders on the didactic, but from a philosophical perspective, Brave New World is entirely worth the read. Huxley poses questions about happiness, conformity, sex, love, and human connection that will linger on in your mind long after the novel's close. At the very least, you might find yourself wondering where to find soma, green velveteen viscose shorts, contraceptive belts, or scent machines. Have you read Brave New World? Loved it, hated it, couldn't care less about it? Leave a comment, tweet with the hashtag #english101, check out Erica and Lauren's reviews, and click here for this year's schedule of modern classics.