Sunday, August 24, 2008

Brideshead Revisited

Brideshead Revisitedis one of my favorite books and this month's book club selection. I love this book about Charles Ryder's history with his college friend Sebatian's family so much that I didn't want it to end. Also it's the second time I've read it and I knew what was going to happen so I slowed myself down to avoid the beautifully written, but sad ending. Charles, an artist, comes under the spell of the Flytes, a wealthy, intriguing Catholic family. The mother's quite pious, while the father ran off with his lover and lives in Venice. The four siblings are each quite distinct as well. Charles keeps crossing their paths between the two World Wars.

Waugh is a masterful writer. He includes so many deep, witty, complex characters. His emotional range is wide, parts are quite witty and others deeply sad. He does some smart things like giving us Sabastian's backstory through a character we can't trust at all, Anthony, who clearly doesn't like Sebastian, but Anthony is witty and smart so we know some of what he says is true. What bits?

It's a good book for discussion (my group's will be this week) as there are questions on the nature of various relationships and everyone's true motives. I have gone to some blogs with movie reviews and the comments pages have been full of perceptive, engaged posts. It's a book people aren't ambivalent about.

Since the movie is supposed to be completely unfaithful to the book, I'm waiting to see how the other book club members think about it before I decide to go.

I have put the BBC's 1982 television mini-series in my queue. It's got a "very long wait."

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