Friday, November 14, 2008

Scoop: Evelyn Waugh

My ideal of the comic novel. Funny, but not crude or malicious. Improbable but just probable enough to keep your disbelief suspended. Gentle but not soggy or woolly. Satirical but not bitter. Every character is funny, but each in a different way. None is irritating. A pert prose style devoid of any self-indulgence. Endlessly quotable, like a Monty Python sketch. Long may the questing vole, feather footed, pass through the plashy fen.

Vanity Fair: William Makepeace Thackeray

I enjoyed this book through one long summer and courtesy of Librivox and my Ipod.
I suppose Victorian novels were what Victorians did instead of soap operas, so maybe listening to its quarter of a million words read out is appropriate. I loved the relentless satirizing of everything, even love itself. I loved the warmth. I loved the way he kept the central love story of the plot right to the last page. I think Becky Sharp would have wrapped me round her little finger. Worse, I would have enjoyed it.
There are one of two sticky spots when it appears even Thackeray didn't read over his own work, perhaps he was in a hurry, but like all great books, I want to go back and do it all again.