Monday, June 4, 2012

Crome Yellow

Aldous Huxley
I am reading Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley on my phone. It is an odd experience (I can only see a sentence or two on the screen), but that is okay because it is an odd book.

People are gathered at a British country house, Crome. There is the master of the house who has just finished writing a history of the manor; his wife who is entranced with metaphysical goings on of the time; their niece Anne; a young writer/poet who is in love with Anne; a painter; an uncle, I think; and, another young woman.

There really doesn't seem to be a plot. Each chapter is a conversation or a story or in one case a sermon. In one chapter the two young women have a discussion about sex. It is very short as this is in the 1920s. The master of the house reads the first chapter of his history of the house that tells the story of one of the first owners who was a dwarf. He populated the house with dwarf servants and found an Italian dwarf wife. All was well until they had a son who grew up to be tall. Many humiliations ensued including the attack of the mother by a huge bull mastiff that the son brought home one summer. Finally, distraught with the lack of respect by the son, both parents committed suicide. 

That is how odd this book is but it is so witty too.

Here is the part describing the vicar's study:

Mr. Bodiham was sitting in his study at the Rectory. The
nineteenth-century Gothic windows, narrow and pointed, admitted the
light grudgingly; in spite of the brilliant July weather, the room was
sombre. Brown varnished bookshelves lined the walls, filled with row
upon row of those thick, heavy theological works which the second-hand
booksellers generally sell by weight. The mantelpiece, the over-mantel,
a towering structure of spindly pillars and little shelves, were brown
and varnished. The writing-desk was brown and varnished. So were the
chairs, so was the door. A dark red-brown carpet with patterns covered
the floor. Everything was brown in the room, and there was a curious
brownish smell.

In the midst of this brown gloom Mr. Bodiham sat at his desk.

A brownish smell? Too funny.

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