Anne's Reviews > The Loved One

The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
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's review
Oct 29, 2011

liked it

The satire is hilarious; so many quotable lines; the ending is still disturbingly cold, even for Waugh.

My specific reason for reading The Loved One, of course, is because of my cemetery project. Although Waugh obviously doesn't have much actual sense of Los Angeles as a place (and never claimed to, explicitly stating in the foreword that this is a 'fantasy') - one thing that always amazes me is how Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Glendale, which is the basis for the "Whispering Glades" operation depicted in the book, was, and is REALLY LIKE THAT.

The satire on the cemetery in "The Loved One" is to me largely unsuccessful, because the original is already so floridly absurd that the mockery adds little - you simply can't exaggerate it enough to obtain any comic effect, because it is already so exaggerated in real life. Reyner Banham (another transplanted Englishman) once said he learned to drive in order to "read Los Angeles in the orginal" - just take a tour of Forest Lawn to read "The Loved One" in the original.

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