This novel is such a wonderful read and Waugh's prose is simply elegant. The novel, which is both a tragedy and comedy, examines the slow decline of high society England. Roles of women, marriage, and religion are fully explored, making this text one of Waugh's defining achievements.
I highly recommend this novel to any ambitious reader looking for a story with depth, character, and emotion. In terms of vocabulary it is an easy read, but the characters and their lives will have you thinking of them for days after the story ends.
Once again, Waugh has at it with the uppity gentry of English society. His participants all appear to have inherited riches, no real occupation, dubious morals, and less character. What they do exhibit is a strong sense of ennui and complacency. In this little gem of satirical exposition, our âJaneâ has become disenamoured with âDickâ and their country coexistence and is drawn gradually into the urban realm of gigolos and perpetual parties. A family tragedy brings the situation to a head and divorce ensues. True to form, this is botched from the start and the principals are left in limbo until our âDickâ disappears of an archeological jaunt into the depths of the Amazon. By the time he is declared legally dead, âJaneâ has been jilted by her no-count paramour and has to seek asylum with another of her consorts. Makes one wonder why the author wasn't spurned by his own compatriots; but, maybe he was.
I love this book. Great English humor.
A satire of English life, London gentry and society pre-WWII
The funniest and most bitter of Waugh's satirical novels (before he got religion).
One of the best books I have ever read (and I am an avid reader).
Coming from U.K., I loved this book as it shows the past way of life of the "upper classes", and how shallow their lives were in those days. It keeps your attention to the very end! An excellent read.
Waugh does an admirable job of describing life of a wealthy segment of English society albeit with tongue in cheek. This satire is so funny at times. For example, when Tony describes his son's fall from his pony who says the pony "put in a short stop": "Short stop my grandmother. You just opened your legs and took an arser..."
The story of a rather uninteresting and bland couple, Tony and Brenda, is satire at its best. Tony's interests do not include his wife until she leaves him for an even more uninteresting person named Beaver. In fact, Tony has few interests at all except for reading the paper and giving a few speeches. At first Tony misses Brenda but when she asks for a divorce and later suggests that she may come back he refuses and goes off on an extended trip to the Amazon. Brenda finds her new life is not all what she expected, especially when Beaver abandons her, leaving on a trip with his mother.
A Handful of Dust is a great read. A real page-turner: very funny and very tragic.
My copy has a different cover.