Monday, 3 August 2015

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh (3/5)

First published: 1930
Page count: 224
The back says: An impoverished novelist clinging to the fringes of high society, Adam Fenwick-Symes takes on the job of a gossip columnist for the Daily Excess so that he can afford to marry his aristocratic fiancée, Nina Blount. Adam is soon thrown headlong into the frantic, jazz-fevered whirl of endless costume parties, treasure hunts, sports-car races and other hedonistic pursuits of the Bright Young Things of the twenties Mayfair. But as the Younger Set exercise their inventive minds and vile bodies in hunting furiously for new and greater sensations, cracks in their glittering armour begins to show...

I say: The synopsis made this novel sound far more exciting than it was, and even though I wasn’t expecting that much I felt a tad disappointed; probably because I felt it could have been so much better.

So much funnier.

There are a few parts in the beginning of the novel that were humorous, and I did giggle here and there. However, as the novel progressed what was meant to be funny turned a bit dull. Like Adam’s meeting with Nina’s father, Colonel Blount; the first meeting was comical with the Colonel not understanding who Adam was or why he came. By the second and subsequent meetings it just became tiresome. Yes, he was a confused old man, but you can only read the same joke so many times and still find it funny.


Apart from that, most of the characters did amuse me, even though I found it hard to like them – not that I was meant to. They were all flaky and their ridiculous decisions and shenanigans made for great satire. I feel the same way about Vile Bodies as I did with A Handful of Dust; I enjoyed the prose and wit, but the end of the novel was a let-down.

3/5 and I will pick up more of Waugh’s work when I come across it. 

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