A Handful of Dust (1934) by Evelyn Waugh is a wonderfully funny look at affluent English circles and values years ago.
Like Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh’s genius comes being able to make serious topics come alive through the aid of comical dialogue. And in A Handful of Dust we can see the mocking of the absurdities which occurred among many upper class families many years ago. There is an honesty to Waugh’s writing which shows what a magnificent observer he must have been of human dynamics and the politics of human interactions.
This book follows Brenda Last last who is looking for adventure and wants more out of life than what she has grown to know. She has been married to Tony Last for the past seven years and they own a mansion. They have a son together John Andrew. But she soon meets John Beaver who is currently unemployed after graduating from Oxford and losing his job in an advertising agency. Brenda and John soon fall in love.
This book is very interesting and has a few turns which you don’t see coming including the ending for Tony. There is a few sad moments in the novel but most of the book is an entertaining read. It is a very fun look at high society and society in general. It also covers themes like humanism, religion, the need for amusement and the want of acceptance among the social circles.
A really great read. The satire present makes the reader smile on more than one occasion. Very enjoyable.
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