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The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh

The Loved One (original 1948; edition 1999)

by Evelyn Waugh

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2,663522,240 (3.86)151
Title:The Loved One
Authors:Evelyn Waugh
Info:Back Bay Books (1999), Paperback, 164 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, British Literature, English Literature, 20th Century Literature, 20th Century British Literature, 20th Century English Literature

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The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh (1948)

  1. 11
    God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut (hazzabamboo)
    hazzabamboo: Both are funny satires of America - Waugh is more vicious.
  2. 11
    The American Way of Death by Jessica Mitford (Booksloth)

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Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
A humorous look at the world of death and mortuaries. Set in Hollywood and written in 1948, it is the era of the controlling movie studios, where image is everything.

The story revolves around a small group of British expats. Sir Ambrose Abercrombie, Sir Francis Hinsley and Dennis Barlow. Abercrombie and Hinsley work for the studios, but Barlow has a job that is considered below British standard...he works at Happy Hunting Ground, a pet cemetery and funeral service.

When Hinsley dies, Barlow is given the responsibility of arranging the funeral. (He is in the business.) While making arrangements at Whispering Glades (this is for humans), he meets Aimée Thanatogenos who is a cosmetician there. He becomes interested in her and starts courting her by sending poems. He had told her he was a poet and she assumes he is the writer of the poems.

Meanwhile the senior mortician, Mr. Joyboy, expresses his interest in Aimée. Barlow now has competition. But all comes to a head when something is discovered about Barlow's poetry.

The comments and views of the characters are along the tongue-in-cheek style. Comments about the studio system, the mortuary world and being an ex-pat in Hollywood. There is a little gruesomeness, but then....

I enjoyed this read. It is not a long one but it is a good one. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Apr 4, 2017 |
Not my favourite Waugh, you know. Funny, quick, fairly clever, a bit morbid, but not quite in the league of Vile Bodies or Decline and Fall. Not bad--hey, it's Waugh--but not his best. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
[The Loved One] by Evelyn Waugh

British author Evelyn Waugh visited Hollywood shortly after WWII to negotiate the sale of film rights to his novel [Brideshead Revisited], and while there he hobnobbed with members of "the British film colony." Too, he toured the grounds and facilities of the famous Forest Lawn cemetery. He returned home without selling film rights, but with the outline of a satirical novel in his head. [The Loved One] skewers the insularity and pomposity of those Brits working in the film business. But its larger target is Forest Lawn.

Dennis Barlow, an unknown British poet, shares a house with Sir Francis Hinsley, a has-been British writer barely clinging to a job at a film studio. When his job vaporizes, Sir Francis hangs himself. Dennis is tasked with making the funeral arrangements at Whispering Glades. There he meets and instantly falls for Miss Aimee Thanatogenos, a mortuary cosmetician.

Her full-face was oval , her profile pure, and classical, and light. Her eyes greenish and remote, with a rich glint of lunacy.
   Dennis held his breath. When the girl spoke it was briskly and prosaically.
   "What did your Loved One pass on from?" she asked.
   "He hanged himself."
   "Was the face much disfigured?"
   "That is quite usual. Mr. Joyboy will probably take him in hand personally. It is a question of touch, you see, massaging the blood from the congested areas. Mr. Joyboy has wonderful hands."
   "And what do you do?"
   "Hair, skin and nails and I brief the embalmers for expression and pose. Have you brought any photographs of your Loved One? They are the greatest help in re-creating personality. Was he a very cheerful old gentleman?"
   "No, rather the reverse."
   "Shall I put him down as serene and philosophical or judicial and determined?"
   "I think the former."
   "It is the hardest of all expressions to fix, but Mr. Joyboy makes it his specialty--that and the joyful smile for children."

Mr. Joyboy, the head mortician, also has eyes for Miss Thanatogenos. Who will win her?
  weird_O | Sep 25, 2016 |
The sarcasm drips from the pages. But so many books that really on sarcasm are so depressing and negative. This one is actually funny. Perhaps it helps to be cynical to enjoy this--that would explain why I like it so much! ( )
1 vote mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
The sarcasm drips from the pages. But so many books that really on sarcasm are so depressing and negative. This one is actually funny. Perhaps it helps to be cynical to enjoy this--that would explain why I like it so much! ( )
  mamashepp | Mar 29, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316926086, Paperback)

The prolific Waugh--an English novelist and satirist perhaps best known for Brideshead Revisited--described this slim, vicious comedy as "a little nightmare produced by the unaccustomed high living of a brief visit to Hollywood." The setting is the L.A. funeral industry, where Whispering Glades provides deluxe service to deceased stars and their families, and the Happier Hunting Ground does the same for dead pets. (At Whispering Glades, staff must refer to the corpses only as "Loved Ones.") The industry provides a perfect foil for Waugh's deadpan wit--and an apt metaphor for the movie business.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:47 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Mr. Joyboy, an embalmer, and Aimee, a crematorium cosmetician, find their romance complicated by the appearance of an English poet, Dennis Barlow.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141184248, 0141193492


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