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Point Counter Point (British Literature) Paperback – October 1, 1996
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"No doubt," he said, "you think you can make good the loss with phosphate rocks. But what'll you do when the deposits are exhausted?" He poked Everard in the shirt front. "What then? Only two hundred years and they'll be finished. You think we're being progressive because we're living on our capital Phosphates, coal, petroleum, nitre--squander them all. That's your policy. And meanwhile you go round trying to make our flesh creep with talk about revolutions."When his interlocutor, the fascist politician Everard Webley, demands to know whether Lord Edward wants a revolution, Tantamount first asks whether such an event would reduce the population and check production and then, when assured it would, he responds, "'Then certainly I want a revolution.' The Old Man thought in terms of geology and was not afraid of logical conclusions."
Huxley fills his novel with a multitude of characters, from the obscenely wealthy Tantamounts to the priapic painter John Bidlake, his children Walter and Elinor, and their respective mates, Marjorie Carling and Philip Quarles. There is also the venomous Maurice Spandrell, the revolutionary Illidge, the unctuous Burlap, and the happily married (a rarity in this novel) Mark and Mary Rampion, who are the book's moral center--theirs is the one relationship that combines reason and passion in proper measure. They are purportedly in part based on well-known figures of the time such as D.H. Lawrence and Katherine Mansfield. Love, loss, infidelity, and murder are the subjects under discussion as Huxley juxtaposes one point of view against its opposite, and mixes in a healthy dollop of science, politics, religion, and art, as well. Point Counter Point is an intelligent novel about the intellectual world, and one that bears up gracefully under the test of time. --Alix Wilber
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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One should read "Point Counter Point" not for the destination, but for the journey. The ending is eerily and disquietingly ambiguous; Huxley is not as interested in passing judgements on his characters as he is in illustrating how complicated the act of living is and how there is likely no one approach to life that will adequately prepare one for its tragedies and twists of fate. A somewhat cynical point of view perhaps, and certainly not comforting to those in search of the big answers to life's big questions, but very realistic. There's hardly a page of this novel that didn't strike a chord with me and put perfectly into words either an idea I have myself or a character trait that I can instantly recognize in someone else.
Though published nearly 80 years ago, this novel feels like it could have been written yesterday (some period differences aside, of course) so relevant do these characters' conflicts, escapades, fears and desires seem. Huxley's book is a reminder that 80 years isn't all that long in the course of human events, nor really is 200, 300 or 400 years.Read more ›
Huxley accomplishes this by developing various themes with one group of characters and then reintroducing them with another group, whose members view similar developments from a different perspective. Situations, ideas, and figures of speech recur in altered form throughout the novel. Oftentimes, he accomplishes this effect with a great deal of gentleness and subtlety.
Two brothers-in-law, Walter Bidlake and Philip Quarles, are clearly projections of Huxley at different ages. They interact with each other and the other members of the large cast of characters. A third, diabolical character, Maurice Spandrell, is more or less Huxley's Jungian shadow. D.H. Lawrence is projected into the story as Mark Rampion, and John Middleton Murry appears as Denis Burlap. We are allowed inside the minds of these five men, letting us see the events of the story from many points of view. For that matter, we are allowed inside the minds of all the characters. In particular, we are allowed inside the mind of the frighteningly seductive femme fatale, Lucy Tantamount, who is a projection of Nancy Cunard.
Communists and Fascists, apolitical seekers of wholeness, God-seekers, and bored aesthetes offer their views on the events and ideas of the time and on each other. Sometimes these oppositions escalate into violence.Read more ›
All in all, I was left feeling awed that someone could write a book that was so good.... and I was sad to have to finish it... it was the type of book you wish could last indefinately.
If you Google the title, the question comes back "Did you mean Point Counterpoint?" Well, no. Counterpoint is a musical term implying line and movement: two or more voices, intertwining with one another, echoing, developing, but never standing still. Huxley certainly understands that music implies movement -- his descriptions of actual music are superb -- but his method as a novelist is essentially static: to set characters off against one another, each of whom represents a different point of view. The book is thus a series of debates, some funny, some serious, all clever. But the characters ricochet off one another like balls on a pool table; this is truly a matter of point clashing with point; there is no line, little movement, and almost no plot.
Oddly enough, Huxley has one of his characters, a writer, criticize his own method: "Novel of ideas. The character of each personage must be implied, as far as possible, in the ideas of which he is the mouthpiece. In so far as theories are rationalizations of sentiments, instincts, dispositions of soul, this is feasible.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We love all of Aldous Huxley's books, how can they miss the target? Like Robin Hood, they split the first arrow dead center!Published 1 month ago by Herbert Booker
If the measure of a novel is how often it gets you to say to yourself "My heavens, I have thought exactly the same thing! Read morePublished 2 months ago by bearieq
Very nteresting novel by a highly knowledgeable intelectual. "Modern readers" will find it outdated and probably will drop it, but still it's achallengePublished 11 months ago by Gaston Chamorro
First-rate satire with expansive intellectual horizons--beautifully written, a delight to read.Published 11 months ago by Daniel White
The novel takes it title and structure from music, particularly the music of Bach, as it weaves themes and moods in and out, contrasting one instrument with another. Read morePublished on February 1, 2013 by gammyraye
I had no problems with this order. The package shipped quickly and was received on time. The book was labed new and seemed very new to me. It looked like its never been used. Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by Tiffani
It's the second time that I am reading this book. I bought it after reading Ken Follet 2 books from his trilogy. They made me remember of this book. Read morePublished on January 2, 2013 by Horse lover