Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 24, Aldous Huxley

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Source: Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 24, Aldous Huxley


“We were both still wonderful .”

“Secretly, I lusted after Célestine as I always had secretly , because it was not allowed that I could somehow evade our synchronized aging by lusting now as I had always lusted. I was allowed to express my desire to her, but it was necessary for her to laugh it off in disbelief,  the delusions of an old man,  possibly the first signs of senility, if not dementia, in her own private senex… The transformation of our bodies was locked in a rigorous synchrony, and perhaps beyond synchrony : we were too close in all ways not to have affected each other casually . As her body changed (and that change,  of course, is invisibly gradual until one of this startling moments of revelation,  when the light slanting in from an oddly placed skylight rakes cruelly against the skin,  the veins, the toenails,  and changes forever your perception of what your lover is ), I at first willed my esthetic for womanly beauty to change to accommodate her transformation,  so that she remained  as beautiful and as desirable as ever before,  though she was different . And the difference itself became provocative and exciting as though sex with her was also sex  with a new,  exotic person who demanded  new sexual protocols and new perversities, until I didn’t have to will that change anymore because that esthetic had permanently changed;  I was no longer attracted to the same women, and it was a blessing and a relief,  and a curious thing.  An unexpected corollary was the realignment of the esthetic concerning my own body,  which could now absorb the stringy musculature, the mottled skin, the haggard cheekbones, the reptilian wrinkles, into its category of acceptable male beauty. Yes,  we were both still wonderful.”

-David Cronenberg, Consumed