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A Handful of Dust – Evelyn Waugh January 30, 2007

Posted by a Wristfister in Books, Classic, Fiction, Satire.


Fiction, Satire, Classic

308 pgs.

Synopsis: (Taken from Wiki) The novel is set in the 1930’s, and focuses on the breakdown of the marriage of Tony and Lady Brenda Last.

Review: I’ve been putting off reviewing this book because I didn’t want to write two in a row, but I shan’t any longer! Truthfully, I’m just lazy. Anyway,I finished this book before I came back to school, about two weeks ago, and I must say it is easily one of the best books I have ever read. I don’t know where to begin reviewing such a book, and considering it’s a classic I don’t know how I would even begin to say something insightful that hasn’t been said before.

I’ll begin with Waugh. Personally, I’d classify Waugh as one of those “last of the pack” neo-classical (which I totally just just made up) modern day novelists, that died out in the mid-1900’s with his other great early 20th century counterparts. Novels just aren’t written like this anymore. As a master of his craft, he has a way with words that is vicious; both wicked and unrelenting on his satirical attacks on society, the book is layered with irony and humor while remaining tragic in meaning. To not sound too essay-ish, basically, the story magnifies the tensions between social classes, and the superficiality and promiscuity of the aristocracy in their idle time. Thennnnnnn, there’s those like Mr. Beaver, a character who desires to be apart of the aristocracy. In all honesty, it’s Waugh’s take on the human condition that makes this novel.

“Pft. Okay,” you say?

Read the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Waugh’s perceptive ability in criticizing authentic human flaws while retaining a light tone reminds me a great deal of Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” (which I happen to be currently rereading for school). As a master of the “show, don’t tell”, he never tells you which characters to hate/love, you just know. Then again, there’s a level of ambivalence towards every character– that’s how human each character is. The dialogue makes the three-fourths of this novel superb, and it’s only in the latter half, the other fourth, that you realize how versatile a writer Waugh really was, as his prose shines in his ability to pay attention to detail while creating a haunting ending. YES, haunting.

Above all, it’s a novel that’s entertaining at heart. I started this book on a Thursday evening, slept, and didn’t get out of bed until I finished it the very next morning.

Misc: Amazon Link.

Bottomline: 9.8/10 Tony Last, Lady Brenda, and Mr. Beaver will forever be in my head. Ranks in my favorites of all time.

*I have one more book to review then, it’ll probably be a while before I review again as it is I have classes and don’t feel like reviewing school books. Plus, I’m addicted to PS2 RPG’s again. Boo. Ciao.*

P.S. Anyone else see that smiley face on the upper right hand corner of the page? It infuriates me to no end.



1. Markus - January 30, 2007

omg you’re right. That little smiley face IS soooo annoying !! argh haha

2. Bowie - January 30, 2007

Yeah, I see it. However, I am surprised it is so annoying to you all. I find it so tiny as to not even be worth my time. In fact I am more angry that I have committed multiple sentences to its revelation and continued existence.

Keep it real, people. AND FOCUS!!!!! It’s just a smiley face. WHAT THE F is WRONG WITH A SMILE. More people should smile, G– Damn iT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Markus - January 30, 2007

i really think Bowie hyung used that to relieve some of his stress at work. ha ha LET IT OUT!!

4. Jason - January 31, 2007


5. cemsSpeen - May 14, 2010

If you are a real estate professional, be really careful in dealing with KoRes Corp. in Weston Florida. Tulio Rodriguez & Monica Cataluna-Shand are shysters and look for anyway to steal ones customers. They attempt to steal your client by requesting their contact information and later contact them behind your back to get them to deal with them directly.

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