Crome Yellow is the first novel by Aldous Huxley, who is much more well-known for his later works, such as Brave New World and Point Counter Point. In my opinion, however, this book deserves the same amount of attention, if not more.
The plot is centered on a group of intellectuals taking part in a house party at the manor named “Crome”. Actually, to say “plot” in connection with this book is to strain the notion of plot to the extreme, for there is hardly any – the text is mostly concerned with the antics of the people in question, who represent a hilarious mishmash of all kinds of weirdness. There is Mr. Wimbush, Crome’s owner and a self-appointed historian, who knows the households of his ancestors better than his own; his wife, spending most of her time composing the horoscopes of race-horses in order to invest her money scientifically; Mary, a young woman who is very much confused by the Freudist theory she seems to profess; Reverend Bodiham, waiting for the Apocalypse to come at any moment and very much eager to see it; devilish and lizard-like Mr. Scogan, picturing all kinds of terrifying images of the future society, and a number of not less extravagant personalities. Denis Stone, the protagonist, is the sanest but the most unhappy person among this intellectual freak show.
Crome Yellow is not a novel as such, for there is only a vague connection between the situations described, each a separate story in itself. But it is not for the sake of plot it should be read – the text is extremely witty, sometimes ironic and sarcastic, sad and thoughtful, but the wording and imagery makes you want to read it over and over again. Crome Yellow bears many references to the books Huxley wrote afterwards and we can say that his whole creative work comes from it, but leaves it unrivalled.