Sunday, 5 October 2014

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

When I reached 'C' Company lines, which were at the top of the hill, I paused and looked back at the camp, just coming into full few below me through the grey mist of early morning.

Thus begins the prologue. We have an unobtrusive introduction of setting - that of a military conflict, presumably that of World War 1, with a little weather to dull or soften the blow.

Chapter 1:

"I have been here before," I said; I had been there before; first with Sebastian more than twenty years ago on a cloudless day in June, when the ditches were creamy with meadowsweet and the air heavy with all the scents of summer; it was a day of peculiar splendour, and though I had been there so often, in so many moods, it was to that first visit that my heart returned on this, my latest.

I think this is a classic example of abusing the semicolon, using them as if they are chains pulling all the sentences together as they are being dragged across the page. The description of weather past is also to blame for making this line looked bloated. I mean all of that line just to say: I was there before. If I had a friend who rambled on like that I'd be in jail for assault.

First thing said:

"Has Mr Hooper been round?"

The prologue is of some interest with scenes and conflict and characters. It's long though, and there are lots of interruptions to the forward narrative.

Verdict: Pass (barely)

This is part of the series: the top 100 novels from Daniel S. Burt's book called Novel 100, the top 100 novels of all time. There is debate of course as to what should be on that list, but his opinions are as good as any. Brideshead Revisited ranks as the 74th greatest novel of all time.

Theodore Moracht

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