The Spectator has reviewed the latest novel by Ned Beauman with a nod to Evelyn Waugh. The title of the novel (Madness is Better than Defeat) itself implies a certain amount of irony and the remote foreign setting will resonate with Scoop fans:
Two rival expeditions set off from the United States to the jungles of Honduras to find the temple — one with the intention of using it as a location in which to film an absurd comedy, the other determined to disassemble it and take it back to New York. The two sides clash, each refusing to give way. The weeks roll into years; and life around the temple, populated with a disparate and distinct array of characters, steadily deteriorates into greater savagery. Meanwhile, Zonulet, rogue CIA agent (and primary narrator), under internal investigation, needs to unlock the secrets of the temple to prove his innocence.
The Spectator’s reviewer David Patrikarakos remarks that the novel:
…displays literary self-awareness. Much of the action around the temple brings to mind a more sophisticated and tamer version of Lord of the Flies. Meanwhile, the book’s early action sees the young director, Jervis Whelt, summoned by the reclusive Hollywood studio head, Arnold Spindler (a man with more than a touch of the Howard Hughes about him), who promptly tells Whelt that he is being sent into the jungle. It is a beautiful set piece that cannot help but bring to mind William Boot’s dispatch to cover ‘a very promising little war’ in the fictional Ishmaelia (based on Ethiopia) at the behest of the newspaper tycoon Lord Copper in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop.
On the Spanish language news website 20 Minutos, their literary columnist, writing as “Regina Exlibris”, was asked to compose an article covering books about journalists. Her shortlist of 6 includes Waugh’s Scoop (Noticia Bomba! in Spanish) in the #1 position:
News Bomb! Evelyn Waugh. Anagram. A Fleet Street press mogul called Lord Copper boasts of his infallible nose in discovering talented reporters who flood his tabloid with exclusives and thus gain readership over the competition. However, because of a confusion of surnames, he sends to “cover” the civil war in a remote African republic one of the most improbable journalists for such a mission. From that misunderstanding, Evelyn Waugh launches into a fierce and hilarious satire on the world of journalism, special envoys, information, misinformation and confusion. Regarded as one of the great novels of humor of the twentieth century, it is also a vivid and corrosive portrait of the profession and the sector that will start the laughter of both those who suffer it daily and those outside its world.
Others on the list include Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. The translation is by Google.