Other Waughs

British mystery writer Christopher Fowler has posted a brief article on his internet site entitled “Waugh Stories” in which he considers the literary careers of Waughs other than Evelyn. He begins with Evelyn’s older brother Alec:

…He’s been described as the poor man’s Somerset Maughan, and as the author of over fifty books, is proof that output has little to do with inspiration…As he aged, his literary subjects reduced themselves to discursions on alcohol and his family…

Next up is Evelyn’s oldest son Auberon who enjoys a better reception:

He tackled five novels in his early career and then gave up, fearing comparisons with his father. They’re nicely written and often funny, but rather pointless and divorced from the real world. In his writing, Auberon had something of the old man’s spikiness, but with far less discipline…Becoming a newspaper columnist clearly suited his talents better, and his political writing for the Spectator constitutes some of his finest work… 

Finally, he mentions Evelyn’s youngest daughter, to whom he refers as Kate but who is better known in this parish as Harriet (her given name and the one under which she writes) or Hetty:

Unexpectedly, it was Evelyn’s daughter, Kate Waugh, who returned lustre to the family’s literary heritage by combining a sharp wit with powerful stories in books like ‘Kate’s House’ and ‘Mother’s Footsteps’.

Her first book was published in 1973 and her most recent, The Chaplet of Pearls, in 1997. She also writes occasionally for The Spectator.

Fowler’s own career spans over 40 books, mostly thrillers including a series involving a pair of detectives, Bryant & May. In another recent post, Fowler has announced that his next book in that series will involve a country house theme and will owe something to other “country house” novels such as, inter alia, Brideshead Revisited and A Handful of Dust. He also writes (or wrote) a column for the Independent called “Invisible Ink” about forgotten writers. See earlier post. According to his Wikipedia entry, many of his books contain literary allusions. Any of our readers familiar with Fowler’s works and who know of any allusions to works of Waugh’s is invited to comment.

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