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23 August 2008 @ 11:36 pm
its pretty sound, the hollow drum  
Vile Bodies, Evelyn Waugh

You thought you'd seen crack?

This was an absolutely VICIOUS book. It ripped everyone to shreds. The humour was rendered unpleasant and unfunny because there was no redemption for anyone or anything. The hate emanated from it like a physical force, yet I'm still not sure who Waugh hated: the Bright Young Things, their Dull Parents, society, the world at large? All of the above?

I mean, it's witty. Observe:

Up till now the little boys around the rope had been sceptical of the importance of Miss Runcible and her friends, but as soon as they saw these badges of rank they pressed forward with their autograph books. Archie signed them all with the utmost complaisance, and even drew a slightly unsuitable picture in one of them.

But it lacked a soul. Without a soul, you see humour for what it really is: poorly disguised cruelty.

It was also, essentially, stupid. I latched on to Adam as the potential hero, and kept being disappointed that he couldn't get any money. By the end I decided he didn't deserve any money, because he was a tosser. All of them were wasters. I keep thinking of the scene where a rich man offers his stepson a yacht and is told to go to hell. I wouldn't tell someone to go to hell if they offered me a yacht. (I'd maybe check their temperature, mind.) The Bright Young Things were clearly just the ASBOs of the twenties, but with better accents.

That being said, 'too, too sick-making' IS a supremely addictive phrase.

Previously, on Book Glomp 2008:
Middlemarch | Invisible Monsters | A Thousand Splendid Suns | Love in the Time of Cholera | Oscar and Lucinda | Kim | Breakfast at Tiffany's | Atonement | To the Lighthouse | On the Road | Brideshead Revisited | Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance | Bonjour Tristesse | A Passage to India | Three Men in a Boat
Current Mood: blahblah
Current Music: anyone else but you (the mouldy peaches)
foreign thinks about you: bridesheadforeignthinks on August 23rd, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Evelyn Waugh was so utterly miserable and I think that's why I love him.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: deerscoradh on August 24th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
He probably could have been a great comic writer if he'd stopped his issues spilling into his characters! imo.
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Pretty headscoradh on August 29th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah ... I don't know. It shouldn't be obvious? Or something? You should at least pretend to have control of your writing. ;D

But his real name was something else, right? Beginning with C...
★★ C. Gabriel Wright ★★: af: e.sanders-artemisgabe_speaks on August 24th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Your feeling towards Adam is about the same as mine for Charles in Bridesmaid, especially when he got married to a woman whom he basically didn't deserve.

A part of me likes, i think, that I end up hating most of Waugh's characters.

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: redhot flowersscoradh on August 29th, 2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
His wife - whose name escapes me - sounded like a great woman, her main fault being that she wasn't Sebastian. Charles didn't deserve anything after he abandoned Sebastion, that is le fact.

I don't think anyone hated Waugh's characters as much as Waugh hated Waugh's characters...
★★ C. Gabriel Wright ★★gabe_speaks on August 30th, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)
I don't think anyone hated Waugh's characters as much as Waugh hated Waugh's characters...

this is seriously probably the funniest shit i've heard all day.


every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: scarfscoradh on August 31st, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)
Happy to be of service! (albeit inadvertently)