Vile Bodies was my Classics Club Spin #8 book.
In the past I have read and loved Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One and Brideshead Revisited.
The Loved One was a school read that I came to enjoy thanks to our class discussions.
Brideshead Revisited I discovered thanks to the wonderfully lush BBC TV series from the 80’s. The series was very faithful to the book.
Both these books are very different from each other though. BR has an epic, family saga feel to it. TLO is more contemporary & edgier.
I was expecting Vile Bodies to be more like The Loved One – edgy satire but set in the 1920’s.
Sadly I struggled to engage or even care about any of the characters in Vile Bodies.
The second half of the book was more amusing than the first (esp the Mr Chatterbox columns), but I still couldn’t get past how ridiculous it all seemed. I got tired of the joke names (Mr Outrage, Judge Skimp, Lady Metroland), the weekly change of Prime Ministers and the on again/off again love affair between the two main characters.
I understand that the book is meant to be a satire on the vacuous, alienating nature of 1920’s England. I can also appreciate Waugh’s enjoyment in the use of language.
But perhaps this book is (or was) funnier and more biting if one had an intimate knowledge of the real people who populated this world, so that one could appreciate who was being sent up & charicatured?
I, for one, obviously missed the point completely!