Sunday, January 08, 2006

Being-Hit-On-The-Head Lessons

posted by Tim Walters @ 7:59 PM

Evelyn Waugh, Put Out More Flags.

When one's first name is of the wrong gender*, and one's last name is a sound effect, perhaps one inevitably grows up a wee bit misanthropic. But Waugh's curse is our blessing. This is some seriously ballsy satire--not only does he expertly walk the fine line between pitilessness and cruelty, but he savaged the war effort (specifically the "Phony War" period, between the invasion of Poland and the invasion of France) in 1942, with Britain still hard beset. It's hard to believe that some official didn't harrumph and hand him a line about the paper shortage.

This seems to be part of an ongoing series--it begins and ends in medias res--but that was no problem for me. While I'm not sure I'd want to read a lot of this at once, lest I lose my faith in human nature, in a one-book dose it's wonderfully wicked. Recommended.

*Turns out his first wife's name was also "Evelyn." Ye gods.


At 2:33 PM, Blogger Ron Maas said...

I recall Chris saying that he enjoyed this one chez Adbul. Anyway, I picked up a copy in a bookshop in Atlanta's little 5 points (?) neighborhood last August along with several Papé illustrated Anatole France novels (oddly similar trade dress to the Papé illustrated Cabells). Maybe I should move up the list a few notches. The only Waugh I've read is Brideshead Revisited which felt like a noveliztion since the miniseries was quite slavish to the novel, and I had seen the miniseries several times by the time I got around to reading the book.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger Tim Walters said...

I may actually have Chris' copy. I know I've had it for ages. It's weird how things move up the to-read list, or fail to.

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