Crome Yellow

  • by Aldous Huxley
  • Narrated by Robert Whitfield
  • 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

One of the greatest prose writers and social commentators of the 20th century, Aldous Huxley here introduces us to a delightfully cynical, comic, and severe group of artists and intellectuals engaged in the most free-thinking and modern kind of talk imaginable. Poetry, occultism, ancestral history, and Italian primitive painting are just a few of the subjects competing for discussion among the amiable cast of eccentrics drawn together at Crome, an intensely English country manor.

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What the Critics Say

"Crome Yellow, Huxley's first novel, is famous for its technique, ideas, and acute psychological descriptions." (The Times, London)
"Robert Whitfield's unabridged reading of Huxley's first novel is a triumph of one man's vocal capacities....Whitfield's vocal acrobatics in portraying the cast of characters assembled at an English country estate for a summer vacation in the 1920's makes for dazzling aural entertainment. Otherwise fatuous goings-on become intriguing shenanigans, and the characters' psychological portraits are rendered accurately through the unique voices Whitfield assigns them." (AudioFile)
"Robert Whitfield does it full justice and proves that he is now one of the best narrators in the business." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Bloomsbury in a blender, 1922

This is Huxley's satire of the personalities of the Bloomsbury Group plus a few others. If you don't get satire or like dry British humor, you're really, really going to hate this book.

That said, it is a brilliant old-school satire, and very much of its time. That is to say, by way of fair warning, the detraction of racial epithets does appear from time to time.

Denis, a 23 year-old writer who's just published the requisite "slim volume of verse" and is hard at work on his first hackneyed novel has come to the Wimbush family's seat of Crome.

When he arrives, Mrs. Wimbush flatters her guest by exclaiming she'd forgotten he was coming. She hardly listens to him because she's busy making astrological calculations. Once a degenerate gambler who lost vast sums, these days Mrs. Wimbush keeps the sweet cash rolling in by consulting the stars.

Denis is helplessly in love with Anne, the daughter of the house, but she is preoccupied with another guest, the lascivious painter Gombaud. Another girl, Mary, is all too interested in Denis and chatters at him at the most inopportune times. The vicar is laboring under the misapprehension that the Counter-Reformation may still be going on, what with his fear of Italian poisoners and Jesuitical conspiracies. (Nonetheless, "There were times when he would like to beat and kill his whole congregation.") And then there's a strange journalist, Mr. Barbecue-Smith, who gives Denis some advice: he must try automatic writing, so that he may decant inspirations from the unseen world in "aphoristic drops." After all, that's what's behind his own impressive daily word count!

It is a house party from hell, complete with a village fete. The mad personalities fling witticisms and epigrams, holding forth upon philosophy, chattering constantly, even unto breakfast.

For me, Mr. Wimbush was the star-turn. He's the only one who really talks sense. This observation is priceless: "As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread, an ever increasing number of people will discover that books will give them all the pleasures of social life and none of its intolerable tedium. At present people in search of pleasure naturally congregate in large herds and make a noise; in future the naturally tendency will be to seek solitude and quiet. The proper study of mankind is books."

He also believes in the "perfectibility of machines," hoping one day his ideal may be realized and he will "live in dignified seclusion surrounded by the delicate attentions of silent and graceful machines and entirely secure from any human intrusion." (Alexa, bring Mr. Wimbush a gin and tonic).

I loved it. I listened to it while I restrung a harp and several other stringed instruments. All the while I kept imagining the book fully illustrated by the late Edward Gorey. It would have been divine.
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- Die Falknerin

Excellent Reading of an intellectual book

Would you listen to Crome Yellow again? Why?

I certainly would. Aldous Huxley's manifold characters are vividly portrayed. The philosophical musings are interesting and situations are humorously described. Even the names Huxley gave to his protagonist are already signifying their characters, It was an edifying and entertaining read (or more correctly "listen").


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- Yakov from Florida

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-14-2006
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.