Book #44-Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley

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.

To see the entire list,  visit Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels.

Please share your own reviews or  comments by using the link below.

Next up, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

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4 Comments

Filed under Point Counter Point

4 responses to “Book #44-Point Counter Point by Aldous Huxley

  1. Other that myself, you are the only other person I know who has attempted (AND FINISHED) this one. I agree that it was a slog, but what I remember the most were some of the great quotations… though admittedly, you had to go through a lot to get to them.

    My review…
    http://eclectic-indulgence.blogspot.com/2009/11/point-counter-point-aldous-huxley.html

    • vsudia

      Loved your review and yes, like you, am glad I read it, but will never pick it up again. I’m certainly glad you had the good sense to note all the great dialog which allowed me to enjoy it anew. I usually do like to jot down good lines, but I was so frustrated with the book that I quite intentionally did not note a single line.

  2. Ugh. How do books like that make it into the Top 50, and awesome books like Of Human Bondage and Angle of Repose don’t??? I don’t get it! Thanks for your review, will not be looking fwd to this one when I reach it.

    Just finished From Here to Eternity. The book took an eternity to read at 850 pages but wasn’t bad. I’ll have to come back after you’ve read it and see your take on it.

    • vsudia

      It is amazing that some of the books are so fantastic while others just leave you scratching your head in bewilderment. Maybe the blogging community should come up with their own list (if it’s not already out there).

      Based on your take, I think I will enjoy From Here to Eternity.

      Glad you’re back!

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