Meredith's Challenge 2.0

52 books, one year. Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

#19 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

This is on various respectable top 100 books of the twentieth century lists so I thought that I should give it a shot. I've also heard that Waugh is an awesome author so I figured I should try him out too.

It was... interesting? I was under the impression that Brideshead is a pretty shocking soap operatic story, and maybe I'm just a godless heathen, but I didn't find it too shocking. In 1944, I guess the themes of the second half might be scandalous but now, not so much. I liked how Waugh transported the reader to the England of pre-WWII but at some points in the first half, I was seriously wondering if the whole novel was just going to be about fancy houses and naughty British school boys, which I guess is what its really all about with a little alcoholism, religion, and adultery thrown in for fun.

Some people (you know who you are) insist that I am an anglophile and that I would love anything if it is British but I think that this novel is a pretty good counter example, as is Dorian Grey, which I've almost all but given up on.

I liked the insight into upper crust British society, but I don't think I would list this as a top book of the twentieth century. However, I am really clueless about this sort of thing and perhaps it is brillant and I am just really missing out because I'm so horribly backwards. Are there any other books y'all think have no place on these lists? Or are negligently absent (for instance Beloved on the MLA list but is present on the Radcliffe list, at least the Britons have their act in order)? Speak to me.


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