Waugh Recommendation Resurfaces

An article posted on the booksblog The Literary Sisters recommends a 1953 novel which Evelyn Waugh had selected as a “best first novel” for 1953 in The Sunday Times:

A largely forgotten novel now, Hugo Charteris’ A Share of the World was selected by Evelyn Waugh in the Sunday Times as ‘the best first novel of 1953’.  The blurb immediately intrigued me, as a fan of both historical fiction and books which have been lost to the annals of time.  It describes A Share of the World as a ‘harrowing story of a man lost in his times, bewildered and anguished by both war and love’, and as ‘a masterful portrayal of the human psyche at odds with itself’.  The Times Literary Supplement wrote of the novel: ‘Mr Charteris brings off many arresting descriptions of things seen and felt’, and the Evening Standard said: ‘Hugo Charteris has the temperament of the born writer…  He sees vividly, feels acutely, has a nervous dislike of the commonplace’.

The book was reprinted in 2015. Hugo Charteris (1922-70) was the brother of Waugh’s friend Ann Fleming. But Waugh was not simply doing her a favor. Francis Wyndham declared this book the best first novel since the war, and Charteris’s Wikipedia entry says his other work received great critical acclaim. Waugh’s other book choices in the Sunday Times article (20 December 1953) were L P Hartley’s now classic The Go-Between and Cecil Woodham-Smith’s The Reason Why. Both of those books are still in print, so Waugh seems to have scored a hat trick on these selections.

A radio interview with the director of the Australian stage production of Brideshead Revisited is available on Radio Adelaide. The production by Adelaide’s Independent Theatre will open later this month for a limited run.

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