Last month the Guardian issued another in its series of book recommendations about U.S. cities. This one related to books about Los Angeles. Others have dealt with San Francisco and New Orleans. The original L.A. list contained no books by British writers, unless Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep is included in that category. After reviewing comments by readers, the Guardian included Waugh’s The Loved One among 10 books added to the list, with this explanation:
The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (1948)
Waugh’s satirical novel about the movie industry, the British expatriate community in Hollywood, the pet funeral business, and the sometimes ridiculous connections between the three was recommended by McSee, CarlRusso and JakeStockwell, who said:
Evelyn Waugh snarls at the hypocrisy and ridiculousness of the American Dream and the Brits who try to maintain the pomp of their diminished homeland. A jolly good film adaptation too (monstrous Mr Joyboy) which is nice for a story that features the movies.
They seem to have overlooked the funeral business per se in which Mr. Joyboy was employed. I’m afraid I can’t agree that Tony Richardson’s 1965 film adaptation was “jolly good;” and nor did Waugh (Letters, p. 633).