A Handful of Dust

Front Cover
Penguin Books, 1997 - Adultery - 255 pages
45 Reviews
Taking its title from T.S. Eliot's modernist poem The Waste Land, Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust is a chronicle of Britain's decadence and social disintegration between the First and Second World Wars. This Penguin Modern Classics edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Robert Murray Davis. After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last is bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. Brilliantly combining tragedy, comedy and savage irony, A Handful of Dust captures the irresponsible mood of the 'crazy and sterile generation' between the wars. This breakdown of the Last marriage is a painful, comic re-working of Waugh's own divorce, and a symbol of the disintegration of society. If you enjouyed A Handful of Dust, you might like Waugh's Vile Bodies, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. 'One of the twentieth century's most chilling and bitter novels; and one of its best' Nicholas Lezard, Guardian 'One of the most distinguished novels of the century' Frank Kermode 'This is a masterpiece of stylish satire, and is funny, too ... a marvellous book' John Banville, Irish Times

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User Review  - wealhtheowwylfing - LibraryThing

Waugh once again turns his piercing eye toward high society...and once again creates a thouroughly unlikeable novel. Every single character is either completely cruel and selfish or an absolute idiot ... Read full review

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User Review  - Tafadhali - LibraryThing

I know Waugh considered Brideshead Revisited overblown, but that's still where I first encountered his work and it's still my favorite. I miss its expansive, elegiac tone sometimes when I read his ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903 and educated at Hertford College, Oxford. In 1928 he published his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies, Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). During these years he also travelled extensively and converted to Catholicism. In 1939 Waugh was commissioned in the Royal Marines and later transferred to the Royal Horse Guards, experiences which informed his Sword of Honour trilogy (1952-61). His most famous novel, Brideshead Revisited (1945), was written while on leave from the army. Waugh died in 1966.

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