Thursday, September 08, 2005

Last weekend my roommate and I watched Bright Young Things and I enjoyed it so much that I immediately pulled out Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, the book the movie is based on. I bought my copy back when the movie first came out but hadn't gotten to it yet. After reading in the Author's Note, "Vile Bodies is in no sense a sequel to Decline and Fall, though many of the same characters appear in both. I think, however, that some of the minor motives will be clearer to those who have read my first book than to those who have not." I decided Decline and Fall would be a better starting point. So, accordingly, I checked it out when I got to work on Tuesday. I absolutely loved it. It even made me laugh out loud on the bus several times. Paul Pennyfeather is put through any number of trials from getting kicked out of Oxford to teaching at a horrible boy's school, ascending the heights of society as the fiancee of a wealthy widow only to be thrown in prison, before finally ending up right back where he started. Waugh admits that Paul "would never have made a hero, and the only interest about him arises from the unusual series of events of which his shadow was witness." Paul is an innocent to whom things happen, but who doesn't ever act himself. He is the means by which we get the satirical view of the upper class and its complete self-absorption.

I am so looking forward to Vile Bodies!

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