zaterdag 27 februari 2016

Evelyn Waugh: Decline and Fall


Decline and Fall is my third novel by Evelyn Waugh and it was his first published work. It has 199 pages and an introduction of 24 pages. I got it from Book Depository.

“Expelled from Oxford for indecent behaviour, Paul Pennyfeather is oddly unsurprised to find himself qualifying for the position of schoolmaster at Llanabba Castle. His colleagues are an assortment of misfits, including Prendy (plagued by doubts) and captain Grimes, who is always in the soup (or just plain drunk). Then Sports Day arrives, and with it the delectable Margot Beste-Chetwynde, floating on a scented breeze. As the farce unfolds and the young run riot, no one is safe, least of all Paul. Taking its title from Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Evelyn Waugh's first, funniest novel immediately caught the ear of the public with his account of an ingénu abroad in the decadent confusion of 1920s high society.”

I absolutely loved the characters in the book. Waugh’s characters are vivid, on the verge of a mental collapse, funny, completely deranged (some of them at least) and eccentric. They wish they could be true English gentlemen but they fail time and time again.

The novel is definitely a satire and it’s darker than I expected. It’s a clever book, it’s philosophical, quite shocking at times, absurd and it has a ludicrous plot.

Decline and Fall made me think and it made me laugh.
It’s not just a funny and thought provoking satire. It’s about British Society at that time and how difficult it was to get further in life because people were meant to stay in their own social class. But it also shows us how empty life can be, even for those in the higher classes. Waugh is a true social critic and a master of satire.
Very enjoyable book. I did not love it though; it's a bit dated and rather boring in places.
The Loved One is still my favorite of his works.


Happy reading!

I had a late night snack while reading this book.