“Mortal Coils” is a book of four short stories and a play written by Aldous Huxley in 1921.
The title uses a phrase from Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1:
…To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to dream; aye, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause…
In fitting somewhat with that quote, all of the stories contain some sort of trouble, usually involving love, and more often than not ending with disappointment.
- "The Gioconda Smile" is a mixture of social satire and murder story.
- "Permutations Among the Nightingales" is a play concerning the amorous problems encountered by several guests a hotel.
- "The Tillotson Banquet" is the tale of an old artist who was presumed dead, but is found to be alive; all the while, a failure of an honorary dinner is organized in his memory
- "Green Tunnels" is about the boredom of a young girl on holiday with her family. She develops a romantic fantasy, only to have those dreams dashed.
- "Nuns at Luncheon" is a second-hand story told of a nun falling in love.