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Book 3: Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

Hosted by the Consul of the Perth Foodies Group
Dining & Nightlife
Event Cover Photo
Took place 1 month ago
Tue 03 Apr 18:30 - 21:00

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Come an join us for the third book of the year! How does this work? Easy, get the book and read it by the date we are getting together. Bring a SMALL plate of finger food to share and something to drink.

Great conversation with like minded people, we talk about the book, life and anything in between, you won’t regret joining.

About the book from the New York Times:

The Post-War Elite
VILE BODIES
By Evelyn Waugh.
The various perturbed elders who made such vociferous outcry when the younger generation started to make public--via numerous novels--its gay-hearted private lives, will give thanks, surely--after reading this series of episodes--that they were not born in England. For in England, they will discover, there was a younger generation that really was a younger generation. At least if Mr. Evelyn Waugh can be believed! As in his widely-applauded "Decline and Fall," so now in "Vile Bodies" he has set down the antics of a group of youngsters so madly and unmorally irresponsible that beside them Scott Fitzgerald's most defiant characters are staid and conservative.

The book, so the publishers inform us, is satire. It seems, rather, a dizzy nightmare. One of those weird nighttime dream productions in which everything gives the impression of being fiercely logical, until--to your disillusion--you start to tell about it. The author prefaces it with two quotations from "Alice in Wonderland," and it has at least this in common with Mr. Lewis Carroll's immortal fairy tale: everything in it is very nearly utterly impossible; everything in it seems absolutely true.

Its principal theme is the love story of Adam Fenwick-Synes, a young author, and of Nina Blount, strange daughter of the British aristocracy, who at every momentous or unmomentous crisis is placed hors-de-combat by "an awful pain." Throughout the book they become engaged, dis-engaged, re-engaged, and at the end definitely and finally unengaged, as Adam over and over almost acquires--only to find at the last minute that he has lost--the money on which they were to get married.

It is around the vicissitudes of this pair that the book's other characters group themselves. They make a strange assemblage. Mr. Outrage, "last week's Prime Minister"; Mrs. Melrose Ape, a woman evangelist with her travelling troupe of "angels"; Miles Malpractice "who touched up his eyelashes in the dining room of the hotel where they stopped for luncheon"; the Hon. Agatha Runcible who "wore trousers"; Lord Belcair who wrote a Mr. Chatterbox column for the Daily Excess and had the decency to commit suicide. All of them the cream of the post-war elite. And these very weird persons are woven into a series of incidents as fantastic as could possibly be imagined by the whim of a novelist. To relate these incidents would but be to spoil the reader's encounter with them.

The book could be called needlessly nasty, decadent, superficial, and arrogantly, even offensively sophisticated. It is not even brilliantly original, for Mr. Waugh is decidedly indebted to Norman Douglas, Michael Arlen and Aldous Huxley. Yet it certainly is funny and that, surely, is enough to say for it. The larger part of modern satire makes you smile, and smile only faintly. "Vile Bodies" may shock you, but it will make you laugh.