Monday, August 02, 2004

Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One.

I've been a fan of Waugh's since fourth-year. I was supposed to be working on my thesis, so I read Brideshead Revisited. And then Decline and Fall. Vile Bodies, A Handfull of Dust, Sword of Honour... I've now finished most of them, and while I've owned a second-hand copy of The Loved One for a while now, I'd not gotten around to it.

Like all of Waugh, it's a bleak and viciously funny book. Dennis Barlow, a young English poet, has been fired by a studio, and is working at a pet cemetary and living with his uncle. The uncle dies, and Dennis goes to "Whispering Glades" to arrange the funeral. Astonished by the place (as was Waugh; his fascination with Forest Lawn was the inspiration for this novella), he falls in love with it even as he falls for Amy Thanatogenos, an assistant there who helps him. He woos her, and wackiness ensues.

It's a short, quick read, and I'm still amazed that I hadn't read it to this point. While a rather affected book, it's fun, and its savage satire is well-worth reading.