When it was published in 1928, Point Counter Point no doubt shocked its readers with frank depictions of infidelity, sexuality, and the highbrow high jinks of Aldous Huxley's arty characters. What's truly remarkable, however, is how his novel continues to shock today. True, we may hardly lift an eyebrow at poor Marjorie Carling leaving her husband to live in sin with--and get pregnant by--her lover Walter Bidlake. And the sexual exploits of Lady Edward Tantamount or her daughter, Lucy, seem quite in keeping with the behavior expected of such exalted persons by readers inured to the exploits of the British Royals. If the varieties of sexual experience on display in Huxley's novel seem tame by current standards, his clear-eyed dissection of the motives behind them are thrillingly fresh--and his commentaries on everything from politics to ecology sometimes chillingly prescient. Take for example, the wisdom of amateur biologist Lord Edward Tantamount on the subject of non-renewable resources:
"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
Huxley's satire of 1920s intellectual life takes formal inspiration from classical music.
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Very nteresting novel by a highly knowledgeable intelectual. "Modern readers" will find it outdated and probably will drop it, but still it's achallengePublished 6 months ago by Gaston Chamorro
First-rate satire with expansive intellectual horizons--beautifully written, a delight to read.Published 6 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
I'll explain the title quote later; first let me say that I found the novel very well written. Every time I read a book I look for memorable quotes to pick out, and Point Counter... Read morePublished on October 2, 2011 by Clyde Griffiths
I love science fiction especially books like 1984, a brave new world, and Fahrenheit 451. Unfortunately, this book just never did it for me. Read morePublished on September 5, 2011 by thephoenixking
Point Counter Point was a scandal in its day, and is still an startlingly funny account of the literary and cultural elite of the 1920's. Read morePublished on December 28, 2010 by Damon G. Labarbera