I am still shaking my head in disbelief that Huxley penned this drivel just four years prior to the publication of Brave New World. Perhaps I’ve missed his point (sorry, just couldn’t help myself), but this one was a snooze fest for me. There was, as expected, some great dialog and a multitude of interesting characters, however, I cared for none of them nor did I care for this lengthy tale.
There is, of course, class distinction, however, most of the affluent characters were rather self indulgent bores while the lower echelon were envious, ignorant and foul mouthed. While I get the cracks and sarcasm, it either didn’t go far enough or went too far. Many of the characters are said to be based on actual people including the likes of D. H. Lawrence, Augustus John, and Nancy Cunard. Some autobiographical comparisons are also insinuated, supposedly as Philip Quarles, but possibly as Walter Bidlake.
There’s Marjorie Carling who is seduced and impregnated by Walter Bidlake. She pines away for her man who, she is quite aware, is out pining for another. This is a pitiful woman whom we never get to truly know so she never garners any deserved sympathies.
Walter Bidlake is the man who doesn’t want what he has and wants what he doesn’t have. He is well aware of his wrongdoings, but oh, he just feels so sorry for himself and his current predicament. Well, I didn’t feel sorry for him and most certainly, did not like him.
Lucy Tantamount is free spirited and sexually promiscuous as well as self indulgent and intellectually lacking. Described as somewhat unattractive, one can only guess (cough, cough) why men are attracted to her like flies. Another unlikable character.
Huxley covers the literary gamut including the have’s and the have not’s, infidelity, alcoholism, cancer, and premature death, but we either don’t know enough about any given character to care or know too much and still don’t care. There is an unexplained murder that really just doesn’t fit in with all of the hedonism that abounds. I get that this was truly satire, but it just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t wait to finish this one…
I’m sure I’d enjoy Mr. Huxley’s company, but I would steer clear of discussing this novel and perhaps ask about his teaching of the young George Orwell.
My rating for Point Counter Point is a 5 out of 10.
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