The Guardian in this week’s “Top 10” books column considers books about Hollywood. Evelyn Waugh’s 1948 novella The Loved One is among those selected by Tim Walker who has himself just finished his own contribution to the genre (Smoke Over Malibu). Here’s his entry for Waugh’s novel:
Evelyn Waugh, The Loved One (1948)
Minor English war poet Dennis Barlow moved to Hollywood to write a biopic of Shelley, but, with the film stuck in development hell, he now works as a crematorium technician at a pet cemetery called the Happier Hunting Ground. Waugh’s brief, bitter satire of California’s film and funeral industries was inspired by a trip he took to LA in 1947, when MGM was wooing him – without success – to agree to a screen adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.
The column also includes a still from the 1965 film adaptation showing Roddy McDowell who played a studio executive and John Gielgud who portrayed Sir Francis Hinsley. Other novels on the Guardian’s list include Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust, F Scott Fitzgerald’s Pat Hobby Stories and Budd Schulberg’s What Makes Sammy Run.
Meanwhile, Waugh is cited by another paper in conjunction with foreign policy. The Australian has a story by Greg Sheridan regarding the success of Jordan’s policy in dealing with the Middle East refugee crisis:
As we turn our gaze to the Middle East this week, we should spare a thought for Jordan. In Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy the fearsome Brigadier Ben Ritchie-Hook gives his most important military advice: Never reinforce failure. The obverse, surely, is obviously true. Do reinforce success. And Jordan, in the seething terror and tragedy of refugees, war and extremism across the Middle East, is a success story.