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This Perfect Day by Ira Levin
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This Perfect Day (original 1970; edition 1970)

by Ira Levin, Gene Szafran (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
746None12,445 (3.96)1 / 32
Member:sturlington
Title:This Perfect Day
Authors:Ira Levin
Other authors:Gene Szafran (Illustrator)
Info:Open Road Integrated Media (2011), E-book
Collections:Kindle
Rating:****
Tags:Dystopia--Utopia--Alternate History, Science fiction, 1970s, dystopias, DK-DYS, bl

Work details

This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (1970)

Recently added bynrmay, Holly_85, fitakyre, marxones, eliseph, BruceCoulson, private library, BookMonk, Aleana
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English (15)  Dutch (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
The premise gripped me: a society where "treatments" subdue free thinking and a computer makes all decisions. Clearly, this is a critique of socialism, an issue at the top of people's minds when this was completed in 1969.

Unfortunately, the sexism of the 60s is also here, and it takes away from the book's enjoyment. Scenes of harrassment, adultery and even rape are glossed over and brushed aside without consequence, making the heroes of this story difficult to care for.

This Perfect Day may still be worth the read for fans of dystopian novels, but it does not hold up as well as other stories in the genre. It starts strong and the writing is engaging; it's just a shame the protagonist here is so hard to like. ( )
  wethewatched | Sep 24, 2013 |
Quite a fast reading. One of the best dystopian books out there. Though 1984 is a classic I find it very slow unlike this perfect day, where we are emerged and the world and the feelings (or lack of them) that is the world after the union. The book seems quite predictable but it is not. I has it's twists, the end is surprising and I say if you are into that kind of literature is a must read. And I'm torn apart between giving a 4 or a 5. ( )
  crdf | Sep 15, 2013 |
This Perfect Day by Ira Levin is a near future dystopian in the same vein as Nineteen Eighty-Four or Brave New World. It follows Li (aka Chip) from childhood through middle age as he questions, accepts, rejects and tries to escape from Uni — the all encompassing society built on the ashes of our current nations.

The how and why of Uni's creation is never fully described but hints are dropped, much in the same way that B&L's domination and destruction of Earth in Wall-E is. Chip's situation unique in that he is related to someone who both knows how things came to be and was apparently an active participant (for better or worse).

Much of This Perfect Day, though, is a quiet observation of the ways in which Chip and the others are so blindly complacent. Levin's rather bland narrative tone serves to underscore the oppression imposed by Uni by not commenting on it. Instead everything is presented as routine and even somewhat mundane.

It's not until about two-thirds through the novel that Chip comes to realize something is not right with how things work. It is also in these last few pages that Levin begins to weave in most of Uni's back story.

It is easy, though, to just take the events as described at face value. Therein, is the second layer of warning about just how easy it is to deceive and to be deceived. Though this is a quiet book, pay attention and question everything you read. ( )
  pussreboots | Sep 3, 2013 |
I tell people I don't like dystopias, then I go and read them again and again. What can I say? There are a lot of good ones--including this one, even if it's not a great one. Atwood of A Handmaid's Tale is the strongest living prose stylist I've read. Ayn Rand's Anthem (don't sneer) is almost a prose poem--even two liberal friends of mine admit to liking it. Huxley's Brave New World and Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 both have many striking, quotable lines. And Orwell's 1984 has so many phrases that have entered the language like "newspeak" and "Big Brother." Each have aspects to their societies that are distinct and memorable; Anthem, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 are of the strain that tries to control the mind, particularly through language.

Levin's future world hews closer to Brave New World with its control of the body through genetics and drugs. It doesn't feel as distinct a world as the other, and though with a clean style doesn't seem to be as strongly written as the above. Also one thing--and I'm no Christian, but it bugged me that one of the four ideologies that rules this society is supposed to be that of Jesus Christ (that of Karl Marx another) but, other than a nod at the value of "helping" your fellow man and knocks against selfishness, this doesn't strike me as remotely Christian in feel or design. That's one reason why it doesn't get a five.

It dipped below a four mostly for what happens from page 192 to 194--and then what doesn't happen. Our hero rapes his love and she tells him not a day later not to feel awful, that "It was perfectly natural." If I thought this was meant as commentary on how that controlled society pushed him, and if it had negative consequences for him, her and their relationship, I'd be fine with it--but you get the feeling that it's what it's said to be--something "perfectly natural." In which case, either Levin really needs to get a clue, or it's sloppy writing. But I don't see the need for the scene if there aren't consequences, and it bugged me.

But the novel is short, well-paced, kept me turning pages and had several surprises--it went in directions I wasn't expecting it to go. So good book, even if not great book. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Jul 31, 2013 |
This book is similar to "Brave New World" and "1984" in its description of life in the future. There are also themes similar to the movies "Equilibrium" and "Gattaca". I had read this book back in the 70's and really loved it and had been searching for a copy for years - but it was out of print. Then it became available in Kindle and I snatched it up.

This story takes place about 150-200 years in the future. All war is gone, all individuality is gone, all decisions are made by the government, and regular drugs are administered to keep everyone in the same numb state. A handful of people, however, feel there is more to life and gather together to imagine what other possibilities there are, and where to find this freedom.

( )
  blush48 | Jul 24, 2013 |
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Epigraph
Christ, Marx, Wood, and Wei
Led us to this perfect day.
Marx, Wood, Wei and Christ;
All but Wei were sacrificed.
Wood, Wei, Christ, and Marx
Gave us lovely schools and parks.
Wei, Christ, Marx, and Wood
Made us humble, made us good.
- child's rhyme for bouncing a ball
Dedication
COMPLETED IN JUNE, 1969 IN NEW YORK CITY AND DEDICATED TO ADAM LEVIN, JED LEVIN, AND NICHOLAS LEVIN
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A city's blank white concrete slabs, the giant ones ringed by the less giant, gave space in their midst to a broad pink-floored plaza, a playground in which some two hundred young children played and exercised under the care of a dozen supervisors in white coveralls.
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Chip fights for freedom from a mechanized, chemically controlled world which stifles nature and human individuality.

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