As the holidays approach, the media are gathering their year end collections of journalistic musings on 2016. Several of these implicate Evelyn Waugh or his writings.
In the Daily Express, comedian Ruby Wax names a Waugh novel as one of her six favorite books:
THE LOVED ONE by Evelyn Waugh Penguin, £8.99 I’m fascinated by the macabre and this is a satire set in Hollywood where death is sold like a holiday. It’s about how we package everything. I like anything that attacks the way we monetarise [sic] everything in America.
Evelyn Waugh…could appreciate some benefits of Christmas festivities – the “caviar . . . chicken soup, grilled soles, roast turkey, cold beef, plum pudding and mince-pies all in very large quantities”, for example, on offer during one pre-Christmas dinner of “quiet reflection” in 1945, which were accompanied by “vodka, champagne, port, brandy, Havana cigars”. The shops were full of “expensive trash”, though, and the presence of the children in the house was hardly to be relished. On Boxing Day, it was only by keeping them in bed for as long as possible that “we managed to have a tolerable day”. “My children weary me”, he told his diary. “I can only see them as defective adults; feckless, destructive, frivolous, sensual, humourless.” Christmas deprived him of the customary distractions: “Though I make-believe to be detached from the world, I find a day without post or newspapers strangely flat”.
Scoop is being discussed in the New York Times’ ongoing book podcast, having been chosen by columnist Greg Cowles. It has also been cited as the “canonical text” on the hot topic of “fake news” in a journalistic weblog The Unz Review, quoting the Wenlock Jakes incident.
The new biography of Waugh by Philip Eade has been selected as one of the top 10 LGBT nonfiction books of the year in the Bay Area Reporter. It has also been reviewed favorably in the Smokey Mountain News, a weekly free distribution paper published in Waynesville, NC. In a TES poll of academics, the biography was selected as a book of the year by a Turkish professor:
… The book covers the familiar ground of his college antics, but also reveals the precarity of the writing profession even when you’re famous, living from one commission to the next and exploiting friends’ hospitality for a peaceful place to write.
Finally, in an interview in the Irish Echo, novelist, former prisoner and IRA activist Danny Morrison gave this response:
Q. Name a book that you were pleasantly surprised by.
A. “Brideshead Revisited” by Evelyn Waugh.
Thanks to reader Dave Lull for sending links to some of the above.