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A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

A Handful of Dust (original 1934; edition 2012)

by Evelyn Waugh (Author)

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3,597802,279 (3.83)235
After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last is bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. Brilliantly combining tragedy, comedy and savage irony, A Handful of Dust captures the irresponsible mood of the 'crazy and sterile generation' between the wars. This breakdown of the Last marriage is a painful, comic re-working of Waugh's own divorce, and a symbol of the disintegration of society. If you enjoyed A Handful of Dust, you might like Waugh's Vile Bodies, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.… (more)
Title:A Handful of Dust
Authors:Evelyn Waugh (Author)
Info:Back Bay Books (2012), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:@office, fiction, Catholic literature

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A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (1934)


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Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
This was my first book by Evelyn Waugh, and I rather enjoyed it. It's a satire (of course) of London gentry of the1930s, and offers a devastating portrait of the wealthy and snobbish aristocratic classes. It is full of dark humor, portrayed with Waugh's cold, rapier wit and more than a touch of bitter cynicism. The plot reportedly has autobiographical elements, notably drawing on Waugh's international travels and the painful breakup of his first marriage. Based on my reaction to this novel, I am inclined to seek out others of his work. A good summary of the plot is available at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Handful_of_Dust ( )
1 vote danielx | Nov 28, 2019 |
I was not liking the book until Tony become delirious, Then it got interesting. Felt like magical realism. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Nov 6, 2019 |
This was a very readable, plot driven novel about a married couple who is known for their solid marriage and respectable life in the country. But then the wife, Brenda, gets bored. Out of sheer boredom she starts an affair with a young man. At first she (and all her friends) obvious feel that this is just a diversion for Brenda and no big deal. But things start to spiral and about half way through the book the plot takes a big turn that leads to pretty radical life changes for both Brenda and Tony (the husband).

I liked the book. It was readable and kept me entertained. It mainly consists of dialogue so it reads quickly. As always with Waugh, it has lots of slang from the time period which is always kind of funny. I'm not sure it's very memorable, but I enjoyed it. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 7, 2019 |
The twist!! The twist! The entire book was so enjoyable, then the twist. Tony's fate left me chilled and disturbed...perhaps because his fate awakens in me some of my own deep fears. Great read! ( )
  melissa_faith | Mar 16, 2019 |
I have liked other books by Evelyn Waugh (always with trepidation, since he was a pretty vile human being) but this was definitely a book I didn't find particularly interesting.

The book centers on Brenda and Tony Last, who retired to ancient Hetton, away from the hustle and bustle of society life. Brenda takes up with Mr. Beaver, a penniless social climber that nobody seems to care for all that much. Cue marriage crumbling.

The novel is populated by a bunch of characters who are basically bored and doing whatever happens across their path to relieve that boredom-- and I mostly felt bored reading about them. ( )
  amerynth | Dec 18, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
The characters of Evelyn Waugh are ... the natives of a highly articulated culture that has no myths, only rituals. ... Dying of manners, they are determined to go on snubbing reality ... The most thoroughly weaned generation in the world, they are discovering that a little money is a dangerous thing. ... There is no comfortable catharsis in Mr. Waugh's comedy of manners.
added by Roycrofter | editNew York Times, Anatole Broyard (Dec 28, 1977)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evelyn Waughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boyd, WilliamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Canavaggia, MarieTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, RobertForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, Robert MurrayEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riera, ErnestTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sachs, AndrewNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wangenheim, Lucy vonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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...I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
— The Waste Land
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do not combine with the movie directed by Charles Sturridge.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141183969, 0141037237

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