Tuesday, August 4, 2009

And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet

Current book: Brideshead Revisited
Pages read: 238-351 (end)

So, during the cruise, when Julia and Charles meet again, they also fall in love and begin an affair that subsequently lasts for years and ends in both of them divorcing their spouses for one another. Unfortunately, they never actually marry, due to the fact that Julia's guilt, as a lapsed Catholic, prevents her from doing so. She's spurred to the pinnacle of that guilt by her father's death, at the very moment of which he crosses himself and accepts, once again, the faith that he'd long ago denied. The end, rather abruptly.

It was kind of an anticlimactic ending that didn't live up to the promise of the beginning of the story, but then, Charles Ryder's life didn't live up to its early promise either, which is sort of the point. It's a matter of realizing that Waugh isn't trying to portray the daring exploits of Charles Ryder and his interesting but tragic friend Sebastian, but rather show us the bleak reality of life: that there is no way of telling how things will turn out. Some things will go well, and others ill, and that's simply how it is. It's really quite elegant.

There are also, of course, some heavy implications about the gradual decline of the English aristocracy, but Waugh treats that with a careful touch as well. There's a gentle sadness about it, a sort of nostalgia for the greatness and beauty of both the old estates and the noble families that are attached to them. It's impossible, however, not to notice the contempt Waugh has for the idea that those families are somehow inherently more valuable as people. Sebastian alone is an eloquent and simple foil to that idea.

Good. Worthy of the list. I'd recommend it.

Stupid Naked Lunch. I do not want to read about drugs and giant insects. God, I hate this kind of thing. On the plus side, it's hard to believe it's going to be worse than what I'm imagining. Dread is an applicable word.

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least it's followed by Hitchhiker and you do like Douglas Adams. Just read this one fast and be done with it.



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