The Gioconda Smile

Last week, while I was lying feverish in bed, I feasted on a short novel written by Aldous Huxley entitled, The Gioconda Smile. Evidently, the title was alluding to Leonardo Da Vinci's most enigmatic portrait, La Gioconda (which by the way, is popularly known as, Mona Lisa). Named after Lisa Gherardini, Da Vinci immortalized an image of her with a mysteriously reserved smile which was seemingly trying to conceal a clandestine of some sort.
Akin to the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Janet Spence, always grins with an air of mystery every time her long-time friend, Henry Hutton drops by for a little chat. Henry Hutton is married to a woman who, like all roses, has withered and aged. Typical of most men, Hutton abandons his wife in quest for a younger, livier and more alluring object. Ms. Spence, being Hutton's confidant, has known all these.Despite that, however, she still continues to nurture the secret sensation of love for her friend which is never revealed because every time he draws near, she cannot do more than carve a Gioconda smile.

The Gioconda Smile is one the greatest British Short Novels written. Like The Lifted Veil (by George Eliot) and The Dead (by James Joyce), The Gioconda Smile tackles a similar subject: memories of love in the past and the people married at present.

Most specifically, these exemplary novels look into the agony of being chained by the sacred vow. Usually, as I have mentioned in my previous posts, married people draw ecstasy in the first four years. Later, they would find themselves tangled in the cobwebs of boredom. I guess the most important factor in choosing a mate, aside from physical, intellectual and spiritual attraction, is the personality. One must be able to find his/her complement. They do not necessarily have to be exactly "opposite" like the two poles, north and south. They only have to be synchronous and complementary like the notes played by the violin and piano.