A Handful of Dust (Penguin Modern Classics) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

A Handful of Dust Unknown Binding – 1937


See all 52 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£0.44
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding, 1937


Product details

  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B0018GYUF6
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
First Sentence
'Was anyone hurt?' 'No one, I am thankful to say,' said Mrs Beaver, 'except two housemaids who lost their heads and jumped through a glass roof into the paved court. Read the first page
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kendall on 27 Jun. 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You know that when you see a passage from Eliot's THE WASTE LAND appearing before the title page that you are not headed for 300 pages of fun and games. Sure there is the usual stock of Waugh humor, wit, and snappy dialogue to be had here, but this ranks as amongst his darkest novels. It's tragicomedy at its finest. It's also one of the most beautifully written novels I've ever read, perfect in pitch, cadence, wording, razor sharp characterization, mood, you name it.
Like a number of his novels, it is set primarily in England, between the wars, bouncing back and forth between London and an Estate in the country. The plot boils down to the break up of a marriage and the decline and fall of the central character, Lord of the manor and eventual "Explorer," Anthony (Tony) Mast.
Tony means well. He really does. It's just that he's so fixated on maintaining Hetton, his hereditary estate, that he doesn't even notice when his lovely wife Brenda engages in an affair with an inconsequential and boorish young society chap to whom Waugh assigns the inglorious name, John Beaver.
Waugh's customary drollery comes to the fore as he depicts the cavalier attitudes towards the affair on the part of Tony's and Brenda's social circle. They are rather like actors in a Restoration play, whose moral compasses have become entirely skewed. Though not as moralistic as some of Waugh's late novels, A HANDFUL OF DUST definitely offers a portrait of a very decadent society, indeed. These are not sympathetic characters. Even the two children who enter into the plot are hardly what one would call likeable.
This novel definitely takes some unexpected turns, leading us eventually to a denouement in the Amazon Jungle. The ending has to rank as one of the greatest in literature.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 July 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"And 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.
Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu.
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du? "
The Waste Land, T.S. Eliot 1922

Evelyn Waugh has given us a dark, witty, satirical novel that takes aim at the post World War I upper class society. His writing is biting and sharp and sometimes hilarious. Tony Last ( the last of the dwindling English gentry ) is smitten, smitten with his boring life at Hetton, his ancesteral, crumbling home. His fortune has dwindeled and there is not much left for his family. His wife whom he adores, Brenda, is smitten also, but not with Tony. She is bored and has found a lover, John Beaver (yes, Beaver). He is a sponger of life and of Brenda and ultimately , Tony. Brenda has rented a flat in London from John's mother- what goes around, comes around. She is smitten with the social life. Tony is unaware of any of the happenings- he trusts his beloved Brenda and is too busy with his life. Their son, John, is a slightly annoying pawn in this tragic comedy. Waugh has written a disaster of scathing proportions and the family such as it is, falls apart. None of these characters are in the least likeable. Not one could bring some semblance of order and honesty to this aristocratic crowd. There is wit, but with the humor comes a feeling of loss. Tony becomes his own person when he goes on a trip to the Amazon. That portion of the tale is interspersed with Brenda's social life in London. The ending is amazing and Dickensonian,if you get my drift.

"My novel also included a happier ending for an American audience, which doesn't surprise me at all.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "jwws2" on 27 Nov. 2002
Format: Paperback
Waugh was a wine critic with no equal. He is a satirist with no equal. His eye for social detail could not be crisper, his tongue could not be sharper. At times he will have you writhing with laughter; at times he will have you crying in pain.
As with much of Waugh's work his own life is a weighty influence. What distinguishes this novel from his earlier work is the heavy undercurrent that permeates thoughout. The title of the work is taken from T.S. Eliot's seminal modernist work 'The Waste Land', and that is precisely what Waugh sets out to describe. Although the humour follows on through Waugh's work, this is not the light-hearted jaunt through English polite society of 'Vile Bodies'. On occasion 'A Handful of Dust' is dark and damning.
That said, the work is highly amusing in places. Such a marriage of humour and despair might seem improbable if not impossible. It would be for rank-and-file satirists. Waugh is a class apart.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By F.R. Jameson on 27 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
This satire from the 1930s is - as one would expect from Waugh - sharp, clever and merciless to its targets; although by the end it has veered off to some odd places, which might strengthen its impact, or may just prove to dark for some readers. Much like his excellent `Vile Bodies', Waugh takes us to a distinctly Wodehouse-esque universe of aristocrats and bright young things. And yet this doesn't have the exuberance of that earlier book, instead venturing to areas far crueller and colder. I reach for the name Wodehouse as that's the obvious comparison for anything detailing young gadabouts in London, but this is really a different beast all together - a Wodehouse that confronts adultery, death and the meaningless of life.

Brenda Last, bored of her existance in the country with her husband Toby, comes to London and embarks on an affair with young wastrel named John Beaver - thus setting off a chain of events which shakes ordered lives around and allows Waugh to vent his spleen across the upper echelons of society. However I can't help thinking, given the repercussions of this affair, that it's oddly sexless and passionless. The whole torrid romance (if that's what one would call it) seems to be going on off-stage while simultaneously happening on-stage - we think we're looking at it but clearly the actual spark is missing. That's no doubt a deliberate move on Waugh's part, as it makes Brenda seem even more selfish, while the character of John Beaver - who at the start seems like he is going to be a major figure in the narrative - just seems to become more and more a cipher.

The ending will no doubt be seen by some as an incredible comeuppance for one of the major characters of the book, while others will surely view it as a bizarre and cruel twist.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Look for similar items by category


Feedback