My introduction to Evelyn Waugh came when I had to read 'A Handful of Dust' for my English Lit 'A' level, well over thirty years ago. That intro led me to read all of his novels and most of his short stories. He was a brilliant chronicler of the British upper middle classes and minor aristocracy in the inter-war years, and reading this biography brilliantly illuminates the background to his novels, the real-life basis for some of his most memorable characters, and the events which informed much of his fiction. Selina Hastings manages to tell Waugh's story with a real lightness of touch that still manages to convey the weight and importance of Waugh's work. he doesn't always come across as a very likeable person, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; Hastings reveals the at times ugly truth of Waugh's character whilst telling the story with wit, warmth and charm, and the cumulative effect is all the more potent as a result. It never gets bogged down, is never 'worthy', frequently salacious, and always a delight. And it makes you want to go back to Waugh's novels with a renewed vigour, matching the real life characters to their fictional counterparts - sometimes they're elisions of the two, but the important thing is the real regard that Hastings obviously holds Waugh's work. If you have any interest in Waugh's work, do yourself a favour and buy this book - it does not disappoint.