"We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read." - Jules Verne
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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jacob's Hands: A Fable by Aldous Huxley and Christopher Isherwood

Major Talents "Slumming" a Bit for Hollywood

Saying that Huxley and Isherwood are slumming by writing a screenplay is really an unfair comparison to the Hollywood of then and the Hollywood of now. Hollywood has always produced junk, but back then they were also more likely to look for those scripts that wrote about the human condition, looking to make a picture that talked about bigger issues. The introduction and the product description on the back cover tell us that Isherwood and Huxley fled Europe for the comparative freedom of Hollywood.

"Jacob's Hands" really is more of a Twilight Zone effort than a traditional novel. It can best be described as a John Steinbeck type of simple 30 year old farmhand has the power to heal animals and most people with has hands. But, this wonderful gift has a lot of burdens, too.

Christopher Isherwood (left) and Aldous Huxley
The novel is clearly written for the movies. Lots of the description and scene-setting is done in that sparse style you'll see when reading scripts. Some of the characters are straight out of the stereotypes you'll see in movies from the 1930s (happy African American household servants and rich society women to name a couple). I found myself imagining a black and white movie in my head and found that it moved along remarkably well. It takes about as long to read as a movie would have to have watched the movie if it had been made. It was an enjoyable read.

I rate this book 4 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Jacob's Hands: A Fable.

Reviewed June 8, 2010.

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