Rachel's Reviews > After Many a Summer Dies the Swan

After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley
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Sep 06, 12

bookshelves: 2012, fiction
Read from July 27 to September 04, 2012

I loved the first part of this book, until Mr. Propter came along. While I can sympathize with some of his views, Mr. Propter is an insufferable, know-it-all bore who sucks all the air out of the story.

I normally love Aldous Huxley's writing--he can sum up human quirks so neatly in hilarious little observations that are both succinct and ingeniously inventive. All that screeches to a halt when Mr. Propter starts in, and the reader is left plodding along through a mass of mediocre philosophizing. Like I said, I can see a lot of good in some of his opinions, and I can sympathize. But there are few literary devices clunkier than soapboxing through a proxy character. Maybe this is because even fiction characters can't believably speak as beautifully as philosophy deserves to be written. Give me a well-written non-fiction philosophy treatise any day and I'll happily read it. Even those pages-long digressions a la John Steinbeck or Victor Hugo are easier to stomach. But when a writer starts using a fictional character's voice to elucidate a philosophical idea, it takes a better writer than Huxley to make it work, which may mean that it's not even possible.

I also didn't particularly like the ending. As much as I've loved other books by Huxley, I wouldn't recommend this one.
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