Monday, December 21, 2009

" 'I have been here before,' I said; I had been there before ..."

As my introduction to Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited gave me a taste of an author who can build a beautiful, revealing and devastatingly painful story.

Charles Ryder is a WWII soldier, stationed in Britain, who has just been relocated to a new headquarters. Much to his surprise, he finds that it is Brideshead, a country manor he first visited as an Oxford student. It was the scene of some of his favorite memories and also his most painful. This novel takes us back as Charles recounts his history with his college friend, Sebastian Flyte, and Flyte's family.

I found much of this novel to be engaging and fascinating. There were a few parts that were a bit slower paced than the rest of the story and I struggled a bit through them. Still, this was an incredibly well-written and believable story which deals with such diverse topics as Catholicism, war, English nobility and homosexuality.

This is my final read for the year for the 1% Well-Read Challenge (coming in just under the wire)! I read ten very diverse books for the challenge this year. Again, I can see this novel's place on the list as it captures a culture and era that no longer exist. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to the reader. I am glad to have read this novel and am looking forward to reading more of Waugh's work -- especially one of his satires. In the meantime, I have an ARC of Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead by Paula Byrne -- a biography of Waugh and exploration of the family who inspired Brideshead.

Happily 1% more well-read,

Support our site and buy Brideshead Revisited on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.


  1. Congrats on being 1% more well read! (Thought that was a very poorly composed sentence right there!)

  2. I loved Brideshead!
    I also really enjoyed the '81 ITV series of the story.
    I always find it interesting that Waugh looked back on it and said he was being pretentious when he wrote it.

  3. Thanks Jenners!

    Al, I'm going to watch the miniseries next. This was one that I definitely wanted to read the book first! I read that as well and found it amusing.