Saturday, October 23, 2010

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Narrated by Michael York

This 75th anniversary edition of Aldous Huxley's classic Brave New World is excellent, one of my favorite audiobooks in decades of listening.

Huxley's novel is, of course, a classic. There's no doubt Huxley wasn't a fan of what he saw in early 20th century America. He set out to create a dystopian future extrapolated from America's youth and sex-obsessed culture and mass-produced and consumer-driven lifestyle. A future utopia in which stability is paramount and achieved through the elimination of want, both physical and psychological, is ironically parodied in the novel's title as derived from Shakespeare's The Tempest: "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world! That has such people in it!"  That the people are genetically engineered and heavily conditioned is beside the point.  One can't help draw a counterpoint with yin and yang, that one's pain and regret are necessary balances to joy and contentment.

But the real prize here is Michael York's performance.  I don't recall a voice actor who is better matched to a novel than he to Brave New World.  Rather than just being a stage for his own talents, York brings Huxley's work to life.  His was an absolutely brilliant performance.

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