Katie Fitzgerald's Reviews > Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019, genre-literary-fiction, level-adult, challenge-cathlit

#CathLit2019 - Book by a Catholic novelist

My Catholic moms book club selected BRIDESHEAD REVISITED as our book for April, since so many converts to Catholicism have named it as an influence on their decisions to enter the church. I went into the novel cold, with no prior knowledge of the plot and minimal background on the author, so it took me a while to get my bearings, but once I did, I was totally swept away by the characters and the writing style.

Captain Charles Ryder is in the army during World War II, and he has become disillusioned by the military. When he and his company are sent to camp at Brideshead, he is suddenly thrown back 20 years into the past, to the days when he knew the family who lived there, the Flytes, and when he and Sebastian Flyte were close friends. As Ryder revisits Brideshead in a lengthy flashback, he reflects on the Flytes' Catholicism and the ways it influenced each member of the family individually and life at Brideshead generally. Though Sebastian and his family don't always live up to the teachings of their faith, still their beliefs have a strong impact on Ryder, and change his life in unexpected ways.

My only disappointment with this book is that I didn't read it sooner. The writing is the perfect mix of humor and nostalgia, and the characters are believably flawed yet thoroughly sympathetic. The Catholic themes are subtle but pervasive, and the story establishes both the ideal practice of the faith and the challenges believers face in living up to that ideal.
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Quotes Katie Liked

Evelyn Waugh
“I should like to bury something precious in every place where I've been happy and then, when I'm old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Evelyn Waugh
“No one could really hate a saint, could they? They can't really hate God either. When they want to Hate Him and His saints they have to find something like themselves and pretends it's God and hate that.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred And Profane Memories Of Captain Charles Ryder
tags: faith

Evelyn Waugh
“I've always been bad. Probably I shall be bad again, punished again. But the worse I am, the more I need God. I can't shut myself out from His mercy. ... Or it may be a private bargain between me and God, that if I give up this one thing I want so much, however bad I am, He won't quite despair of me in the end.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder
tags: faith

Evelyn Waugh
“Julia used to say, 'Poor Sebastian. It's something chemical in him.' That was the cant phrase of the time, derived from heaven knows what misconception of popular science. 'There's something chemical between them' was used to explain the overmastering hate or love of any two people. It was the old concept of determinism in a new form. I do not believe there was anything chemical in my friend.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Evelyn Waugh
“The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are. With anyone over fifty you can be fairly confident what's been taught and what's been left out. But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into depths of confusion you didn't know existed.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Evelyn Waugh
“She told me later that she had made a kind of note of me in her mind, as, scanning the shelf for a particular book, one will sometimes have one's attention caught by another, take it down, glance at the title page and saying "I must read that, too, when I've the time," replace it and continue the search.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Evelyn Waugh
“I'll pray for you."
"That's very kind of you."
"I can't spare you a whole rosary, you know. Just a decade. I've got such a long list of people. I take them in order and they get a decade about once a week.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Evelyn Waugh
“I knew Sebastian by sight long before I met him. That was unavoidable for, from his first week, he was the most conspicuous man of his year by reason of his beauty, which was arresting, and his eccentricities of behaviour, which seemed to know no bounds... I was struck less by his looks than by the fact that he was carrying a large teddy-bear".”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Evelyn Waugh
“Sebastian is in love with his own childhood. That will make him very unhappy.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Evelyn Waugh
“What's this place called?' He told me and, on the instant, it was as though someone had switched off the wireless, and a voice that had been bawling in my ears, incessently, fatuously for days beyond number, had suddenly been cut short; an immense silence followed, empty at first, but gradually, as my outraged sense regained authority, full of a multitude of sweet and natural and long forgotten sounds: for he had spoken a name so familiar to me, a conjuror's name of such ancient power, that, at its mere sound, the phantoms of those haunted late years began to take flight.”
Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder


Reading Progress

April 1, 2019 – Started Reading
April 1, 2019 – Shelved
April 5, 2019 –
page 43
9.95%
April 6, 2019 –
page 67
15.51%
April 12, 2019 –
page 117
27.08%
April 12, 2019 –
page 231
53.47%
April 12, 2019 –
page 290
67.13%
April 12, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
April 12, 2019 – Shelved as: genre-literary-fiction
April 12, 2019 – Shelved as: level-adult
April 12, 2019 – Finished Reading
April 20, 2019 – Shelved as: challenge-cathlit

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