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Fascinating and brilliant at many levels, Huxley's spoof of Lady Ottoline Morrell's famous bohemian gatherings is difficult to categorize. The ironic tone and caricaturish rendering of some characters makes it partly entertaining satire, but intertwined with the irony are a very human love story and much poignant social commentary. Denis Stone (Huxley himself) is a young poet hopelessly enamored of the languid Anne Wimbush, who comes to Priscilla Wimbush's Crome estate for several weeks of intellectual and artistic escape. Along the way of his love affair, he engages in or eavesdrops upon conversations with other guests about the War, about eschatology, about future society, about Sex, about Art, about Love. Several of these dialogues directly foreshadow themes of Huxley's later dystopian masterpiece, Brave New World. Others show a tragic prescience of another great European war on its way, an awareness that future tragedy might attempt to complete the unfinished business of the recent Great War. Huxley's first novel, Crome Yellow is well worth reading in its own right, while containing embryonic forms of so much of Huxley's later intellectual themes.
Great reader, I am surprised that he was able to stay awake through the whole book! What an extremely tedious and...what's the word? I listened to it so long I felt I had to finish...or did I? I'm not finished yet, and I think I will move on to something else at chapter 17. For the reader I'd give it 5 stars; for the book, maybe 2.
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