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The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  723 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Evelyn Waugh's short fiction reveals in miniaturized perfection the elements that made him the greatest satirist of the twentieth century. The stories collected here range from delightfully barbed portraits of the British upper classes to an alternative ending to Waugh's novel A Handful of Dust; from a "missing chapter" in the life of Charles Ryder, the nostalgic hero of B ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published September 20th 2000 by Back Bay Books (first published 1953)
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Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
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242nd out of 972 books — 672 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,208)
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Jun 27, 2015 Carol rated it really liked it
Waugh's work is shocking and hilarious. I only wish he could return briefly and leave us something on the politically correct. But as that will surely not come to pass, I must say, that this volume is a great footnote, to the god of caustic disdain, to be read in bits and pieces – and again and again. I began reading these short stories months and months ago, then the book got packed for moving and I just recently unpacked it and began reading it again. Of course, I had to reread the stories I h ...more
E Sweetman
Nov 28, 2009 E Sweetman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: influential
I love Evelyn Waugh's novels, I wallow in his satiric novels: "Scoop", "Vile Bodies", "A Handful of Dust" and in my search for more of the above, I came across this collection and what a lucky find! He is sharp and stinging and hilarious! I don't think I would ever want him as a relative or wish him as a father upon my worst enemy (quote Mr. Waugh: "My stories are more dear to me than my children. If a child dies, I can just have another."), but his biting edge and insight to the frailties of hu ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Well - now I've finished -- better than I had expected, and a very wide range: from surprisingly poignant and sad to quite "out-there" (Love Among the Ruins is an amazing story!). Quite good and I recommend it.

just trying this out - Waugh's work in this form isn't as well as the novella/novels - about 1/2 way through - I'm finding these wry and intelligent, gently pointing out foibles and the ridiculous in the upper-class's attitudes about all others - very nicely wrought and efficient, compact
Rambling Reader
Aug 09, 2015 Rambling Reader rated it it was ok
it's interesting how novelists aren't historically successful with short stories. case in point.
May 12, 2012 Jackie rated it really liked it
"It seems to me sometimes that Nature, like a lazy author, will round off abruptly into a short story what she obviously intended to be the opening of a novel."

So writes Evelyn Waugh at the start of part 4 of "A House of Gentlefolks", one of many short stories in this wonderful book that do just that, finishing the story but leaving the reader knowing there could be much much more. Clearly Waugh had many many ideas and as this is the first writing of his that I've read I've no experience to say
Marie E.
Mar 18, 2013 Marie E. rated it it was amazing
Loved a Handful of Dust and Evelyn Waugh delivers the same biting wit through these stories. I love the juxtaposition of serious story line with awkward British humor. Of note are "The Man Who Liked Dickens" an alternative and darker ending to a Handful of Dust; the two stories comprising the unfinished novel Work Suspended (interesting because the main character of both is an author who has writers block, so I wonder if the unfinished novel is intensional); the sad "Bella Fleace Gives a Party"; ...more
Arwen Downs
Jul 05, 2009 Arwen Downs rated it really liked it
While I am loving Evelyn Waugh's short stories almost almost almost as much as Edith Wharton's (same initials - coincidence?), there is something to the despairing nature of them that hits me a little lower below the belt. Perhaps it is the fact that it has been raining incessantly here in Boston, but after some of the stories I just set the book aside and stare into space for a couple of minutes before I go on. Other than that, Waugh is delightful in every way. His characters are alternately va ...more
Feb 03, 2016 Andy rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading a story that takes the piss out of Aleister Crowley. This is significant in that I thought Maugham was the only major author who hated Crowley (see "The Magician"), but apparently Waugh thought Mr. Crowley was a big, fat wanker, tosser, shmendrick, insert your own favorite word here. Mister Macabre was quite a figure of fun in his time. I'll bet Hemingway hated him, too.
I enjoyed most of the stories. The school ones were probably my least favorite just because I don't understand the English school system, but that's not Waugh's fault. The juvenilia was okay, the Oxford stories better. The adult stories were the best, but with a few misses. I really enjoyed "Bella Fleace", "Winner Takes All", "Cruise", and the one about the dog (I'm blanking on the title). I also really enjoyed all the ones with married couples, just because he does them so amusingly. Great
Oct 09, 2008 Ero rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: from-liberry
Most of the complete stories are brilliant, of course. It's amazing how well he mingled deep misery and hilarity: most of these pieces make you laugh while you're reading, then afterwards you feel extremely sad. I'm rating it only three stars simply because at least half of the book is unfinished work or juvenilia, and as a result it was a bit of a chore to finish.
Daniel Polansky
Jan 12, 2015 Daniel Polansky rated it it was amazing
Tremendously funny, very mean, as good a prose writer as the 20th century produced. It made me laugh awkwardly at bars.
Aug 02, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing
There’s certainly no need for me to expound upon Evelyn Waugh’s greatness as a writer here. The reputation of the author of “Brideshead Revisited”, “Put Out More Flags” and “The Loved One” is quite secure—for the moment. And who else would be drawn to a book of his short stories but a fan? Still, there’s plenty to recommend “The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh.” His original take on the short story (“The Balance”), his jarring surprises (“The Man Who Liked Dickens”, Mr. Loveday’s Little Outing” ...more
Hmm I should have started with his novels. I didn't get a couple of the short stories as you needed to have read the novels to appreciate them. However there were a few stories in there that made me laugh out loud, my favourite being 'Cruise' which was a series of letters written by a 'young lady of leisure'. I also particularly enjoyed 'Mr Loveday's Little Outing' and 'Love Among the Ruins.'
Dec 12, 2013 Esonja rated it it was ok
Well written, enjoyable stories. Evocative without violence or too too much frivolity. Little twisted twists, and not strenuous. But, the thing is, though some stories were quite effective (and disturbing) it didn't grab me on the whole, and I won't soon be looking for more from this author - just OK on the whole.
Dec 21, 2007 Pa rated it really liked it
Witty and at times wicked, Waugh's short stories are unforgettable in their power to depict the human mischief, folly and failures. The opening of each story is sharp and strong, and the stories progress with entertaining and comical details. Waugh is definitely one of my favorite authors of the short form.
Feb 02, 2010 Carly rated it it was ok
I didn't read all of these short stories. As is evidence by how long this has been on my currently-reading list, it wasn't a page turner. I initially picked up this book because I wanted to read "The Man Who Loves Dickens", which I really liked. I only read one or two more. They were okay, but not my favorite.
Jul 25, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Another one for the Modernist in me.
Aptly described by the guy who reads to me in bed as "England's Fitzgerald," Waugh's short stories skip lightly to a usually grim end.
Oct 28, 2008 Coki rated it really liked it
Just a little quick something for the break room - although the first one was kinda depressing. but I hear that hoity-toity accent in my head and it makes me giggle!
Jul 08, 2008 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who know Evelyn is a man.
Recommended to Daniel by: Me.
What can you say about Evelyn Waugh except, except....there are always going to be people who think he's a woman.

Next on to "The Loved One."
Oct 01, 2008 Dan rated it it was amazing
I read "Mr. Loveday's Little Outing" when I need a lift or when I have had to grade too many bad student essays.
Jul 07, 2009 Annette rated it liked it
I do enjoy the humour... couldn't relate to the British schoolboy stuff. Do like his novels...
Apr 27, 2009 Erica rated it it was amazing
Evelyn Waugh remains one of my favorite authors. His stories are so funny, so bitter, and so sad.
Jan 21, 2008 Joel marked it as read-some
Recommended to Joel by: Sarah
Wodehouse with a heavy heart or Fitzgerald with a light one?
Jan 23, 2008 Stacia rated it really liked it
these little, brown anthologies are fancy-looking.
Nov 06, 2011 Lexi rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-fiction
Slightly disillusioned yet light and fun.
Aug 20, 2007 Tim rated it really liked it
Oh my Evelyn
Nov 11, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it
She’d always reminded me of Jeff Archer’s wife, Lady Archer. Every time she entered a wine bar heads would turn. Or alternatively, the bourgeoisie and grandiloquent people would just swivel their stools round so they didn’t have to strain their necks. Her views were pretty trenchant, described by one university scientist as “...a facile by-product of a facile product.” Wikipedia has made her university education all but pointless. In her right hand, she had a calling card. And in her left, she d ...more
Mar 31, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it
I'm glad I previously finished Waugh's first novel, Decline and Fall, before tackling this collection of short stories - particularly because of its inclusion of fragments, juvenilia, and early unpublished works. Maybe that's just the way I'm wired, but it was easier for me to pick up on the author's acerbic wit after having become a little more familiar with his writing.

Well worth the time for lovers of all things Britishly funny.
Nov 29, 2012 angela rated it liked it
It was recommended to me that I read Vile Bodies, but it wasn't immediately available at my library so I opted for Waugh's collection of short stories. Having not done any research, I was really surprised to find that a man would be called Evelyn. That's really neither here nor there though. I loved several of those short stories, liked others, and detested a handful. Some were just too long and the language was irritating to me, especially the few written in a 19th century vernacular. However, ...more
It's odd that until now I had never read anything else by the author of what is probably my favourite book, Brideshead Revisited, and so I relished the thought of reading this.

At first, I was disappointed, but I believe these stories are in chronological order (except for the juvenilia and college work at the end), and I did find myself enjoying them more and more. They are by reputation humorous, but the humor is very mild. I certainly recognized the author of BR, in several of his characters a
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Evelyn 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 al ...more
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