A witty recounting of a house party, wherein Huxley satirises the fads and fashions of the time--we hear the history of the house 'Crome' from Henry Wimbush, its owner and self-appointed historian; apocalypse is prophesied, virginity is lost, and inspirational aphorisms are gained in a trance. The protagonist, Denis Stone, tries to capture it all in poetry and is disappointed in love.
s enamoured with the beauty of words.
Becoming once more aware of the outer world, he found himself on the crest of a descent. The road plunged down, steep and straight, into a considerable valley. There, on the opposite slope, a little higher up the valley, stood Crome, his destination. He put on his brakes; this view of Crome was pleasant to linger over. The facade with its three projecting towers rose precipitously from among the dark trees of the garden. The house basked in full sunlight; the old brick rosily glowed. How ripe and rich it was, how superbly mellow! And at the same time, how austere! The hill was becoming steeper and steeper; he was gaining speed in spite of his brakes. He loosed his grip of the levers, and in a moment was rushing headlong down. Five minutes later he was passing through the gate of the great courtyard. The front door stood hospitably open. He left his bicycle leaning against the wall and walked in. He would take them by surprise.
It is difficult to believe that the author of Ape and Essence, Brave New World, Eyeless in Gaza and the strange quasi-historical Devils of Loudin would write this brutal criticism of the British upper class. I read this fiction some years ago and found it difficult to place amongst Huxley's other works. I suspect it would have made a good screen play for a 1940's movie. The kind Huxley worked on during his long stay in America. If you are unfamiliar with Huxley read Ape and Essence first. Thanks to ManyBooks for these very early Huxley works.
It's hard to believe the author of Brave New World could write such a humorous book. It's a tough read but well worth it in my opinion. One example - the minister soliciting funds from war widows for a World War I memorial, claiming that since the husbands had died abroad, the money the widows saved on burial costs should be donated to the memorial.
Aldous Huxley wrote this masterpiece about people he'd like to punch in the groin, makes you know why he'd like to punch them in the groin, and does quite a knowledgable job of it. I'd imagine he hung around these sorts of folks plenty during his lifetime.
Written directly after WWI, this novel reflected Huxley's unchanging and always detached world view -- expressed in his often bitter and cynical probing into what he took as the universal failure of humans to either comprehend themselves or others. This novel is primarily a series of character studies marked by philosophical digressions. In this, as his other works, the author takes a lofty moral stance, which is expressed in his critical portrayal of various characters (almost all drawn from the English upper class), with all being revealed in their various foibles and weakness -- from their hypocritical posturing to their simple vacuity. Brilliantly written, this cheerless work might be said to be "witty" but for this reader, its wit is too heavily tinctured with scorn.