My Favourite Books (Part III)

This week sees the third instalment in my favourite books series. Click on the links to read my reviews.

 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 

Brave New World

Brave New World utilises erudite social commentary to explore mankind’s inherent nature. Huxley’s portentous vision has proven to be prescient in its prediction of a science-controlled, consumer culture.

My Review: Brave New World is set in a society where everything is controlled. The parentless, manufactured, free-loving population are dependent on a state-endorsed hallucinogenic, happiness drug called Soma. Helicopters serve as the primary mode of transport…(more)

Genre: Dystopia

 

On the Beach by Nevil Shute 

Published in 1957 On the Beach is a cautionary and timeless post-apocalyptic novel whose central theme is an exploration of how people confront imminent death.

My Review: World War III has culminated in atomic bombs being dropped on the northern hemisphere. The radiation is spreading steadily southwards on the winds, decimating populations in its wake. Stationed in Australia is American submarine captain Dwight Towers…(more)

Genre: Post-Apocalyptic

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451’s motif is a warning about the threat posed by state censorship. It could be argued to be prescient in its prediction of our increasing obsession with mass media.

My Review: Books are banned in this dystopian world, where firemen are employed to burn them. Guy Montag is a fireman, who lives an unfulfilling existence with Mildred, his sedentary, parlour-consuming wife: parlours being an in-house form of entertainment…(more)

Genre: Dystopia

 

 

Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Cancer Ward

Set in the post-Stalin era, Cancer Ward is an allegorical, semi-autobiographical novel, in which the cancer ward serves as a microcosm of Soviet society.

My Review: Oleg Kostoglotov, whose last name translates as ‘bone-chewer’, has been exiled in perpetuity to a village by the name of Ush-Terek, located on the steppe in Kazakhstan, a long way from home. Kostoglotov’s bad luck does not end there…(more)

Genre: Political Fiction

 

Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis 

Easton Ellis’s debut novel is a nihilistic account of life in 1980s L.A. Utilising social commentary and plotless realism, Less Than Zero is a graphic and disturbing novel that is unrelenting in its bleakness.

My Review: Set in nineteen-eighties Los Angeles, the story follows eighteen-year-old Clay, returned home for Christmas from college in New Hampshire. Clay immediately falls back into the L.A. social scene, spending his time hanging-out with various wealthy teenagers who include…(more)

Genre: Transgressive

 

Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick 

Providing fascinating insights into North Korea, Nothing To Envy is an engrossing text that effortlessly captures the lives of its interviewed North Korean defector subjects.

My Review: Published in 2009, Nothing To Envy is a novelisation of interviews with various North Korean defectors, hailing from Chongjin, a bleak, northern industrial city, far from the country’s Potemkin village capital, Pyongyang. There is particular emphasis on the famine…(more)

Genre: Non Fiction

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