2010: 39. Brave New World

“A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories.”

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

     I re-read Brave New World as part of my Modern Library Project, and I have to admit that I was sort of dreading it.  I read it for the first time in high school (just for fun, not as an assignment), and my most vivid memory was of not really liking the book.  So I was pleasantly surprised, on re-read to find it better than I’d remembered.   Which is to say, really, the first time I read it, I hated it, because I don’t enjoy dystopian fiction, and I was young enough to be put off by the unhappy ending and the sad bleak lives of every single character in the book.  But this time, being old and sophisticated, I read in the spirit, of “oh, this is a satirical book on modern society” and already knowing that everything ends poorly and everyone in it is sad and nasty, and thus, I skimmed the sad parts with real feeling, and focused on the sharp parts that highlighted Burgess’s negative views about humanity, and I thus found it much less enjoyable.

     But, this is still not my kind of book.  I still don’t like dystopias, finding them cynical and depressing, and I also prefer books with real characters with real emotions.  And I get that that is the entire point of the book - that our Alphas and Betas and Gammas have been bred and conditioned to be soulless, but it is definitely the kind of book I appreciate, but not enjoy.

Date/Place Completed:  May 2010; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, Modern Library Top 100; Re-Read

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017