Aubrey’s review of Brideshead Revisited > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

So sorry that it did not resonate. Sometimes a book does its job when it makes us angry too.

message 2: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Well, it did let me know that I prefer emotionally raw narratives over those desiccated by society, which made reading it worthwhile in its own right.

message 3: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 11, 2013 08:18PM) (new)

Aubrey wrote: "Well, it did let me know that I prefer emotionally raw narratives over those desiccated by society, which made reading it worthwhile in its own right."

I appreciate seeing it explained like that--i.e., the preference for "emotionally raw" rather than "emotionally stunted." I'm kind of emotionally raw person in real life--sometimes it's nice for me to take a break from my own persona to read about the overly-reserved types that often show up in these novels of the British aristocracy.

message 4: by Jason (new)

Jason Koivu This sounds like Of Human Bondage, but with even more contemplation and less of driving on of the plot. So, I think I'll pass. Besides your warning, for which I'm thankful, I recently started watching the Jeremy Irons miniseries version and couldn't get into it. I might have if I'd read/seen this when I was a mopey, too-introspective teen.

message 5: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Ha ha, oh dear. I loved OHB when I first read it, so now I'm a bit concerned about my reread. But I'm glad my review was useful to you nonetheless.

message 6: by Samadrita (new)

Samadrita Oh dear seems like this won't go into my 'Aubrey recommends' shelf. Maybe I'll find another Waugh to read when I get to him.

message 7: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Or you could read it and convince me out of my huddle of sadness. Disliking books always leaves me gloomy.

He does have plenty of other works, though, of which I'm planning on reading 'A Handful of Dust' and 'The Loved One'. So you have plenty of options.

message 8: by Samadrita (last edited Jun 11, 2013 11:20PM) (new)

Samadrita Aubrey wrote: "Or you could read it and convince me out of my huddle of sadness."

Actually that sounds like a good idea. I had my eye on 'A Handful of Dust' as well. Let's see which one I pick first.

message 9: by Ema (new)

Ema Oh no, you've even lowered the rating until I was able to read your review! I've had great expectations for this novel and now I don't know what to think... But then, I might (still) be an inexperienced reader and enjoy it...

message 10: by Aubrey (last edited Jun 11, 2013 11:27PM) (new)

Aubrey Ema wrote: "Oh no, you've even lowered the rating until I was able to read your review! I've had great expectations for this novel and now I don't know what to think... But then, I might (still) be an inexperi..."

I'm truly sorry about that. I'm a horrible fiddler of ratings/reviews after they're published, which is a result of a bad mix of impatience and indecisiveness on my part. Also, there are multitudes of positive reviews out there by people who have been at this reading/reviewing business for far longer than I, and in addition I admit to large amounts of personal bias. Like I said to Samadrita, outside viewpoints are much appreciated and encouraged.

message 11: by Ema (new)

Ema Don't be sorry, Aubrey! Despite the positive reviews, I'll also take your opinion into account. I haven't read anything by Evelyn Waugh yet, so I might start with A Handful of Dust instead of this one.

message 12: by Stephen (new)

Stephen P I find it really difficult to write a negative review. With the, Woman Upstairs, I gave it 1 star then ran. Well, ran and hid. I think the trick is to unleash one's disappointment and anger yet give specific reasons why it failed. You did this. It worked.

message 13: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Thanks, Stephen. It helps that I spend a good deal of time analyzing myself whenever I'm angry, in an effort to calm myself down with reasonable insight. Comes with having a horrible temper that often leads to broken things if I'm not very careful.

message 14: by Tej (new)

Tej ha! I haven't read him at all and your 2 stars (2.5) to a book eulogized as I see most of 4's and 5's obviously rather intrigued :))! After reading your review, found a funny passage in wikipedia page, where Waugh writes to Graham Greene,

in 1950 he wrote to Graham Greene saying "I re-read Brideshead Revisited and was appalled".


"It was a bleak period of present privation and threatening disaster — the period of soya beans and Basic English — and in consequence the book is infused with a kind of gluttony, for food and wine, for the splendours of the recent past, and for rhetorical and ornamental language which now, with a full stomach, I find distasteful."


message 15: by Jonfaith (new)

Jonfaith I tend to agree with your assessment. Twice I attempted to scale such and twice I turned back,largely from apathy.

I do appreciate the citation supplied by Tej above.

message 16: by Kalliope (last edited Jun 12, 2013 05:25AM) (new)

Kalliope Very interesting approach... I read it a while ago and liked it a great deal, but I wonder if I would feel the same now. In general I like his generation of writers. My impression is that they wrote naturally, not too self-conscious.

message 17: by Madeleine (new)

Madeleine the flat characters that drown their passions in meaningless prattle, the obvious distinctions between when the author is droning out plot and when he is attempting at themes and meaning

Oooof, that sounds like uninvitingly like Ayn Rand.

You did a wonderful job of expressing the specifics of your displeasure with this. Negative reviews are such beasts to write but you handled it perfectly.

message 18: by Cecily (new)

Cecily When you are considering which other Waugh to read, bear in mind, they are quite varied. I think A Handful of Dust is a brilliant work, but it contains a particularly nasty and self-involved character, so may not be the best choice, and Vile Bodies has a cast of Brideshead-like characters.

On the other hand, Decline and Fall is, in some ways, like a comic caricature of Brideshead, and the The Sword of Honour Trilogy is also more humorous than Brideshead.

message 19: by Aubrey (last edited Jun 12, 2013 12:36PM) (new)

Aubrey @Tej: Ha ha, well that's encouraging. Although, consensus on writing dictates that if the author doesn't hate their work a little bit, they're doing it wrong. So...still funny, though, so thanks for going through the trouble of finding and posting that.

@Jonfaith: Thank you, I'm glad it agreed with you.

@Kalliope: Yes, the 'naturally' bit came across loud and clear, and unfortunately I was not in agreement with most of it. Oh well. As I said in the review, I'm hoping for better results next time.

@Madeleine: Not nearly as bad as Ayn Rand. I think. I hope. It's been a while since I read her Atlas Shrugged, so what do I know.

And thank you. Negative reviews are painful, but they're good practice for arguing points without resorting to illogical methodologies. I'm glad that came across.

@Cecily: Thank you for the advice. I'll be sure to take it into consideration when I return to Waugh.

message 20: by Mala (new)

Mala Aubrey, BR is supposedly Waugh's best work & if that left you unimpressed,chances are his other works wouldn't cut much ice either...
Good thing is,there is no dearth of other interesting writers & other interesting books!

message 21: by Cecily (last edited Jun 14, 2013 02:50AM) (new)

Cecily Mala wrote: "Aubrey, BR is supposedly Waugh's best work..."

I think it's undeniably his best known, but I don't think it's his best, and I suspect I'm not the only one to think that.

Here's a very old (1972!) article from The Atlantic, discussing the relative merits of Waugh's works. It rates Brideshead bottom of the pile:

And an even older one from the same source, that also gives useful comparisons:

message 22: by Mala (last edited Jun 14, 2013 02:55AM) (new)

Mala This book invites love & hate ( read: ridicule) in equal measure- therefore,just to be on the safe side,I used 'supposedly' :-)

And thanks for the links,Cecily.

message 23: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey @Mala: Yes, well, I do own another one of his, so I might as well get to it eventually. Until then, as you have duly pointed out, I will be occupying myself with other writers who deserve my attention.

@Cecily: I also thank you for the links. They will be useful when I'm deciding what of his I should read next.

message 24: by Eric (new)

Eric Not a fan of Waugh then, eh? I remember you looking for stuff of his that library sale last fall. Well, Decline and Fall is really funny and not too long, so there's that.

message 25: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey's hoping for better results next time.

message 26: by Amy (new)

Amy You put into word what I could not. This is exactly how I felt about this book!!! Thank you!!!

message 27: by Aubrey (last edited Jul 05, 2013 12:56PM) (new)

Aubrey You're welcome, Amy. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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