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