Levine applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Hyde, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Hyde is a quiet but crucial sliver of the whole. Jekyll has been visited by a woman he used to know, Georgiana, whom he courted as a young man but could not bring himself to pursue, so deep are his anxieties about sex and vulnerability. They have recently run into each other in a restaurant, where Georgiana asked if she could pay Jekyll a call. Now he has taken her up to his cabinet laboratory, the sanctum where he keeps his secret chemicals, the portal between Hyde’s world and Jekyll’s. Georgiana has come to seek his psychiatric counsel. She is in the midst of admitting that she is pregnant, and that she’s had eight miscarriages in the past.Visit Daniel Levine's website and Facebook page.
In the second or third month, usually [Georgiana is saying]. One of them—one of them made it almost to the very end. Jekyll looked out the window, the courtyard growing darker still. It feels good just to say that, you know. I’ve never said it to anyone. That one—they just took him away; I didn’t get to see. They didn’t even want to tell me it was a he. Georgiana wiped her eyes, letting out a sobbing laugh. Oh, poor Henry. A nice hysterical woman to start off the day.Jekyll is meanwhile fighting to retain his composure. Seeing Georgiana stirs up memories he has tried to repress—memories of his failure to be a normal man with healthy desires. She has reemerged, married, pregnant, with a heartbreaking medical history. Jekyll is obscurely jealous and furious at the idea of her husband, yet also proud that she has come to him for advice. He must suppress all this behind his cool bland professionalism. Georgiana goes on:
Outside the window, flakes of snow were beginning to straggle down like bits of ash. Georgiana took a breath. There’s something I’d like to ask you.I’ve been trying to be scientific. To analyse my, my condition. One conclusion is that the problem is physical. That something is wrong, misshapen, inside me. Sometimes I think this must be the answer, that I’m deformed inside… But then, there’s a second possible conclusion. What if the problem isn’t physical, but mental? Psychological, I mean. What if there is something in my mind that is causing the—the miscarriages. Like a poison?Deformed inside…something in my mind, like a poison. These thoughts uncomfortably echo Jekyll’s understanding of his own inner chaos. Georgiana and Jekyll have always shared an affinity of nature; they reflect one another. This is what brought them together in their youth.You told me, all that time ago, [Georgiana continues] that emotions and thoughts are not merely mental, that they have a chemical aspect as well. You spoke of the body having its own chemistry. Which is why I thought you, of all people, might understand what I’m saying.Jekyll understands only too well. His comprehension of what we call brain chemistry is very precocious for his time, and his study of psychoactive drugs has been at the core of his questionable research—his treatment of a French patient with multiple personality disorder, and his self-medication with the “potion” that allows Hyde to emerge. His next question is both a deflection and a telling indication of his own fear and fascination:You’re asking me if it’s possible for a woman to psychologically sabotage her own pregnancy? Well, sabotage makes it sound deliberate, Georgiana replied. I suppose I’m asking if a woman could be doing it involuntarily. Why would it be involuntary? I don’t know, she said. The poets make it sound that feelings are these insuppressible forces storming through the body. That is how it feels toPage 69 ends. Yet Jekyll’s choice of words—sabotage—lingers eerily throughout the novel. Self-sabotage: voluntary or involuntary, or somehow both? Such questions are very relevant to Hyde as his mind begins to destabilize, and a mysterious stalker becomes intent upon destroying his life.