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The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh
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The Loved One (original 1948; edition 1974)

by Evelyn Waugh

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2,988622,930 (3.87)166
Mr. Joyboy, an embalmer, and Aimee, a crematorium cosmetician, find their romance complicated by the appearance of an English poet, Dennis Barlow.
Member:the_darling_copilots
Title:The Loved One
Authors:Evelyn Waugh
Info:Dell, (1974), Paperback
Collections:Your library
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Tags:6c

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The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (1948)

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English (58)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
My library has a blind date event where you pick a wrapped-up book based on a few keywords. I picked this based on "satire", "undertaker", "romance", and the fact that it's short. From the cover, I thought it would be about vampires or zombies maybe, but it was a realistic novel instead.

It started out well, but in the end I didn't like it that much unfortunately. ( )
  runtimeregan | Jun 12, 2019 |
I asked my mother to keep an eye open for books by Evelyn Waugh – I forget why; I think I’d just watched the TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, fancied reading some of his novels and found a couple in charity shops myself… Anyway, I asked her to look out for them, and the next time we met up, she gave me a carrier bag containing a dozen of them. Which was considerably more than I’d expected. Quite a few of them were tatty Penguin paperbacks from the 1950s, which I didn’t mind as these were books I planned to read and pass on. I bought four of them with me to Sweden, including The Loved One. Which is a thin novel, of no great consequence. It’s set in Hollywood during the 1940s, immediately post-war, I think. The protagonist, Dennis Barlow, is a Brit, who worked for a major studio but was let go. He now works for a pet burial service. Which is a career the rest of the British expat community think is diminishes their standing among the Angelinos. This is especially the opinion of Sir Ambrose, who works at the studio which once employed Barlow. And also lets Sir Ambrose go, by simply giving his job to a relative of a manager (this is why employment laws are a good thing). Meanwhile, Barlow has met Aimee, a beautician at Whispering Glades, an upmarket cemetery that could only ever exist in California. And maybe in Florida. Barlow woos Aimee using poetry by assorted great poets which he claims to be his own verse. But then Aimee learns where Barlow works, and she has as low an opinion of the pet burial service as Sir Ambrose. The Loved One is mildly amusing, and Whispering Glades is certainly a good satirical creation, but the Barlow and Aimee are too much the naifs and the rest of the cast are all pretty much caricatures. Still, even second-tier Waugh is pretty damn good prose. ( )
  iansales | Apr 3, 2019 |
Waugh’s savagely funny anti-homage to Hollywood, Forest Lawn, and Miss Lonelyhearts. The English community in Hollywood that we see is composed of a suicidal has-been, a Colonel Blimp type, and Dennis Barlow, a young poet and amoral opportunist. A love triangle, unconsummated, develops among Barlow, a cosmetician at Whispering Glades named Aimée Thanatogenos, and the head mortician and embalmer there, Mr. Joyboy. Thanatogenos is directed by her Miss Lonelyhearts correspondent, a drunk named Slump, and after she has ignored his advice and been disillusioned by both the mother’s boy Joyboy and the bounder Barlow, he tells her in drunken disgust to kill herself. This advice she follows, injecting herself with embalming fluid in Joyboy’s lab. Barlow, who works at an imitation of Whispering Glades for the disposal of pets, agrees, for the price of a first-class ticket back to England, to get rid of the body and the consequent embarrassment, or worse, for Joyboy. ( )
  michaelm42071 | Feb 27, 2019 |
I don't think I would have enjoyed the company of Evelyn Waugh. I'm certain that he would have had little time for me, for he was a fearful snob who made many enemies and offended everybody he met. How gratifying it would be, though, to be on the receiving end of the witheringly elegant vitriol that came from his pen. Waugh's genius was to be very, very funny and yet, even as you are helpless with laughter, to make you feel really guilty about laughing when he kicks you hard with horror or pathos or both.

The Loved One is an old favourite of mine, and one of the funniest books I've ever read. The author abandons his usual habitat of English Society, and takes us to the Golden Age of Hollywood for a biting satire of the American Way of Death. In the Hollywood Cricket Club, where little cricket is played but the social standards of the British expat community are fastidiously maintained, the fortunes of the ageing scriptwriter Sir Francis Hinsley are fading, and his protegé the dapper young RAF officer and poet Dennis Barlow has already had his contract terminated by Megalopolitan Pictures and is reduced to working secretly for a pet cemetery, a position the Cricket Club would be appalled by if it became known. When Sir Francis, finally eased out by the studio, hangs himself it falls to Barlow to arrange his funeral at the lavish Whispering Glades and it's here that he encounters the naive young cosmetician Aimée Thanatogenos (Waugh is a genius with names) and sets about wooing her. What ensues is a very dark farce with a tragic overtone and a bitter twist in the finale

As you'd expect from Evelyn Waugh, nobody comes out of it well. The British are cynical and manipulative, the Americans naive and stupid. The link between movies and death rituals is clearly drawn, the latter as much glitzy spectacle as the former. It's a very short book, just over a hundred pages, and rattles along at a brisk pace. In the end it's also rather moving. Everything a good black comedy should be.
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
I don't think I would have enjoyed the company of Evelyn Waugh. I'm certain that he would have had little time for me, for he was a fearful snob who made many enemies and offended everybody he met. How gratifying it would be, though, to be on the receiving end of the witheringly elegant vitriol that came from his pen. Waugh's genius was to be very, very funny and yet, even as you are helpless with laughter, to make you feel really guilty about laughing when he kicks you hard with horror or pathos or both.

The Loved One is an old favourite of mine, and one of the funniest books I've ever read. The author abandons his usual habitat of English Society, and takes us to the Golden Age of Hollywood for a biting satire of the American Way of Death. In the Hollywood Cricket Club, where little cricket is played but the social standards of the British expat community are fastidiously maintained, the fortunes of the ageing scriptwriter Sir Francis Hinsley are fading, and his protegé the dapper young RAF officer and poet Dennis Barlow has already had his contract terminated by Megalopolitan Pictures and is reduced to working secretly for a pet cemetery, a position the Cricket Club would be appalled by if it became known. When Sir Francis, finally eased out by the studio, hangs himself it falls to Barlow to arrange his funeral at the lavish Whispering Glades and it's here that he encounters the naive young cosmetician Aimée Thanatogenos (Waugh is a genius with names) and sets about wooing her. What ensues is a very dark farce with a tragic overtone and a bitter twist in the finale

As you'd expect from Evelyn Waugh, nobody comes out of it well. The British are cynical and manipulative, the Americans naive and stupid. The link between movies and death rituals is clearly drawn, the latter as much glitzy spectacle as the former. It's a very short book, just over a hundred pages, and rattles along at a brisk pace. In the end it's also rather moving. Everything a good black comedy should be.
( )
  enitharmon | Jan 14, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evelyn Waughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Addams, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyle, StuartIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All day the heat had been barely supportable but at evening a breeze arose in the West, blowing from the heart of the setting sun and from the ocean, which lay unseen, unheard behind the scrubby foothills.
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141184248, 0141193492

 

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