Point Counter Point

Point Counter Point - Aldous Huxley [These notes were made in 1985:]. I think I would be right in saying that one's admiration of the technical skill of this book goes a long way to ameliorate the depressing nature of its subject - that is, the littleness of modern lives. Altho' the depiction is very time- and class-specific (these people live in the 20s, and almost none of them are badly-off), yet we still see ourselves in a glass altogether too brightly! The opening, dismal scene, where Huxley analyzes for us the progressive spiral of self-disgust and resentment which comes from wronging someone else, is almost painful in its psychological accuracy. Occasionally the mirror starts making multiple reflections, as where Phillip, the novelist, jots down notes for a novel which tell us something about this novel we are reading - and he also includes a novelist as one of his characters... The observation is so minute (if sometimes a trifle caricatured) that it comes as something of a jolt to the sensibilities, tho' not the reason, when Everard Webley is murdered at the end. We've seen it coming, and certainly it providentially prevents the adultery which Elinor (Phillip's wife) is contemplating - but somehow, it seems to make about as much sense as a murder does in real life - that is, not a hell of a lot. For one gets the feeling that even having such an engineered climax at all in a book like this is something of a betrayal of the endlessly detailed reality - from all possible points of view - it has been building for us.