Christopher's Reviews > Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
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's review
Apr 27, 10

Read from April 09 to 26, 2010

I liked this title a little less than A Hand full of Dust. The absurdity of HFD was there, but this was definitely a lighter treatment of interbellum bedlam. The most disturbing part of this book and other Waugh books is how accurately he depicts bland characters who are anti-Romantic. By this I mean characters who go along with whatever life gives them without sorrow or happiness and without really fighting for anything. life passes by their dim perception and then they die.

At some point in this book the drunk 13-year-old Earl of someplace or other remarks that there are two kinds of people in this world: dynamic and non-dynamic. Paul, the main character realizes that he is not the dynamic type, but feels no regret for not being of the character and thinks nothing more about it.

There is a brilliant section about King's Thursday, a renaissance estate torn down and replaced with a minimalist cube of a house. Once again, absolutely no regret for destruction of a house that required 20 servants to run, for a self-sufficient cube. It is an architectural treatise that begins to feel like analogy and then devolves into nothing in particular. Which leaves me to wonder what the book was about and also why I need to feel that it was about anything at all.

While reading I thought of Ayn Rand and Architecture, Thoroughly Modern Millie and white slavery...fascinating time period.

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