A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

A Handful of DustA Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

The perfection of this novel lays only in its title, for a handful of dust is the exact description of the reading experience it provides and to some extent, its content. The fragile remains of the barely lively activity called reading this book would be swept away with the last page, if not for the purpose of writing this review. The book had so little impact on me that I, after finishing it last night, already have troubles remembering the theme.

It’s a story about privileged people of the last century, their deceits and similar troubles, built on lots of external happening, chattering and characters that are like the buzz in the spring – all over the place, but without knowing where they’re coming from or going to. Their final destination sure is surprising and constitutes one of the best parts of the novel, but before we reach it, gossip serves as the only tool to get in touch with them. As it is with gossip, it slips away with the change of perspective. It could be a witty conduct, but is just boring and unavailing.

21 Comments

  1. I’m yet to try Waugh, despite owning several books. This sounds similar to A Dance to the Music of Time, If I see a cheap copy of this I may pick it up as your review has intrigued me to know more.

    • Oh thank you! It was my first one from him as well and I can’t say I’m craving for more, I think there might be plenty books which deserves your attention more:) But it’s not bad either, so do as you wish lol:)
      Haven’t read A dance to the music of time yet, would you recommend it?

      • I picked up the first omnibus of the first three books of A Dance and loved every page of it, apparently books four to nine are the best so I look forward to reading them just as soon as the Christmas rush dies down.

  2. What a shame. I’m reading a book that is so bad at the moment that I just have to finish it ! Piked it up for $5 during my holiday – it’s called ‘If you are reading this I am already dead’. Can’t remember who wrote it, lol.

  3. A great movie was made of this book, I think in the 1990s, with Kristin Scott-Thomas.

  4. I love reading Waugh’s books. He could be extremely witty and also cruel and spent his life with the people he wrote about – rich and/or upper-class people who were bored and had nothing much to do. He wanted to be accepted by them and be part of their set but he watched them too closely and used them as models for his books. He also had strong religious beliefs – he was a Roman Catholic – and felt guilty and resentful. He wrote some good travel books too.
    Thank-you very much for visiting my blog and for the follow. I have enjoyed reading your reviews very much.

  5. Waugh may seem a bit weird at first but he really is a great writer, once you get into the satire of it, skewering social pretensions. For a book that’s downright funny, try Scoop; also Decline and Fall is well worth a read. His masterpiece, most say, was Brideshead Revisited.

  6. You have a great first paragraph here. Unfortunately, I could cut and paste it into several of my recent book reviews. Thanks for not including the title; it makes the cutting and pasting easier. (lol)

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