Decline and Fall

June 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

decline&fallDecline and Fall
by Evelyn Waugh
published by Penguin Books

The absurd tale of Paul Pennyfeather is a dark, social satire of English society in the late 20’s. Wodehouse’s influence on Waugh is strongly felt in this story, albeit the tone being substantially darker than anything found in Wodehouse’s novels. The label of satire can also be extended to Waugh’s other novels: Vile Bodies, A Handful of Dust, and Scoop.

The title is an allusion to The Decline of the West by Spengler and Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Waugh read both of these works whilst writing his novel. The rise of nations and empires is followed by their demise and downfall; the impending collapse of the Empire, and theĀ evolving social and cultural values, may have prompted Waugh to pick the above title. Similar themes exist in his other novel: Brideshead Revisited.

Yet, Decline and Fall remains in essence a terrifically entertaining and enjoyable novel.

All Hell Let Loose

June 23, 2015 § Leave a comment

allhellletlooseAll Hell Let Loose
by Max Hastings
published by Harper Collins

It is impossible to dignify the struggle as an unalloyed contest between good and evil, nor rationally to celebrate an experience, and even an outcome, which imposed such misery upon so many. Allied victory did not bring universal peace, prosperity, justice or freedom; it brought merely a portion of those things to some fraction of those who had taken part. All that seems certain is that Allied victory saved the world from a much worse fate that would have followed the triumph of Germany and Japan. With this knowledge, seekers after virtue and truth must be content. « Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Sleep & Other Novels

June 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

The Big Sleep & Other Novels

by Raymond Chandler
published by Penguin Books

It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.

I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat, and a gun. I put them on and went out of the room.

The tragedy of life, Howard, is not that the beautiful die young, but that they grow old and mean. It will not happen to me. « Read the rest of this entry »

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