Book of the Month: After Many A Summer Dies The Swan by Aldous Huxley
The Fault of Humanity in a Human World
Elephant Paperbacks Edition
New month, new book! Though The Celestina was enjoyable, we are moving towards a more contemporary period full of shiny and silly glitz, glamorous in all its superficial glory. I am referring to 1930’s and 1940’s Hollywood.
As winter descends in Los Angeles, shading our lives with grey undertones and a fresh chilliness not felt in some years, what better book to read under a rainy sky than Huxley’s satire After Many a Summer Dies the Swan. Many summaries out there would tell you that this is Huxley’s comedic novel on American cultural set in Hollywood, popularly characterized as superficial, shallow, and phony. Not sure what are the implications of our calling it a satire, but rest assured there is plenty outrageous frivolity and long philosophizing reflections on the state of humanity as a whole.
Hollywood in its golden age of the 19th century provides a deep and strange setting for a reflection on human nature, culture, war and spirituality. If you enjoy the old world aura of Los Angeles’s Hollywood neighborhood (or Lana Del Rey’s “starlet” songs) this book will add a caustic and irreverent mystic to your previous perspective. Though the plot might seem sparse at times, when you’re finished reading you’ll still feel the reverberations of the uncanny end. Keep in mind, the language sometimes gets complicated, meaning you will need patience with this one. Sometimes, it will feel like you are reading an essay on philosophy, which is not bad at all. It opens up thoughtful critique on your own part.
You can purchase your copy here.
Drugs, sex, death. It’s all in this novel, and not in a predictable, general way you might assume.Revolving around a rich old white man named Mr. Stoyte who’s endowed with millions in property and cash, the novel intermittently focuses on reflections and conversations between characters on the purpose of humanity and all the faults and possible virtues of humans. Mr. Stoyte, a choleric old man, lives well with a young mistress nicknamed Baby. Jeremy Pordage, arrives on invitation to catalogue old English documents. All the while, you will notice Mr. Stoyte suffers a stark and stupefying fear of death. Meanwhile, Dr. Obispo, Pete, Mr. Propter, and others become embedded into the story, when it all comes together at the end, naturally, to an uncanny, ridiculous, and almost unbelievable end.