Read Le cher disparu by Evelyn Waugh Free Online
Book Title: Le cher disparu|
The author of the book: Evelyn Waugh
Date of issue: August 1996
Loaded: 2998 times
Reader ratings: 4.9
ISBN 13: 9782264019967
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.93 MB
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This is my first experience of reading Waugh, thanks to the Reading the 20th Century group. This is a savage and very funny dark comedy, subtitled "An Anglo-American Tragedy". According to Waugh's preface, it was inspired by a trip to Hollywood to meet a producer who wanted to film Brideshead Revisited, a trip on which Waugh spent much of his time in the cemetery he dubs "Whispering Glades". Much of it is about misunderstandings and cultural differences between Britain and America, and some of this seems as relevant as ever.
The story centres on Dennis Barlow, a young British writer who is earning his keep by working at a pet cemetery. He is lodging with an older writer, who is fired by his studio and reacts by hanging himself. Barlow is asked by the British community as represented by the Cricket Club to arrange an appropriate funeral, and much of the first part of the book centres on his introduction to the cemetery and its bizarre, lavish and tasteless rituals. He meets and falls for the aptly named Aimée Thanatogenos a beautician who works there, who is also being pursued by the embalmer Mr Joyboy, who sends her smiling corpses. To say much more would spoil the book for anyone new to it, but Waugh doesn't spare much sympathy for any of the characters, all of whom are rather one-dimensional.
The book is full of very funny moments and a pleasure to read.
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Read information about the authorEvelyn Waugh's father Arthur was a noted editor and publisher. His only sibling Alec also became a writer of note. In fact, his book “The Loom of Youth” (1917) a novel about his old boarding school Sherborne caused Evelyn to be expelled from there and placed at Lancing College. He said of his time there, “…the whole of English education when I was brought up was to produce prose writers; it was all we were taught, really.” He went on to Hertford College, Oxford, where he read History. When asked if he took up any sports there he quipped, “I drank for Hertford.”
In 1924 Waugh left Oxford without taking his degree. After inglorious stints as a school teacher (he was dismissed for trying to seduce a school matron and/or inebriation), an apprentice cabinet maker and journalist, he wrote and had published his first novel, “Decline and Fall” in 1928.
In 1928 he married Evelyn Gardiner. She proved unfaithful, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1930. Waugh would derive parts of “A Handful of Dust” from this unhappy time. His second marriage to Audrey Herbert lasted the rest of his life and begat seven children. It was during this time that he converted to Catholicism.
During the thirties Waugh produced one gem after another. From this decade come: “Vile Bodies” (1930), “Black Mischief” (1932), the incomparable “A Handful of Dust” (1934) and “Scoop” (1938). After the Second World War he published what is for many his masterpiece, “Brideshead Revisited,” in which his Catholicism took centre stage. “The Loved One” a scathing satire of the American death industry followed in 1947. After publishing his “Sword of Honour Trilogy” about his experiences in World War II - “Men at Arms” (1952), “Officers and Gentlemen” (1955), “Unconditional Surrender" (1961) - his career was seen to be on the wane. In fact, “Basil Seal Rides Again” (1963) - his last published novel - received little critical or commercial attention.
Evelyn Waugh, considered by many to be the greatest satirical novelist of his day, died on 10 April 1966 at the age of 62.
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