The Loved One (Modern English-language texts) Unknown Binding – 1967
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All day the heat had been barely supportable but at evening a breeze arose in the west, blowing from the heat of the setting sun and from the ocean, which lay unseen, unheard behind the scrubby foothills. Read the first page Browse Sample Pages
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Top Customer Reviews
Characters ranging from a young englishman attempting to make his way forward in Hollywood, to Mr Joyboy the accomplished mortician, his mother and her parrot cannot fail to draw the reader in and entertain in a way that only Evelyn Waugh could.
This book is a must for anyone who has enjoyed the more popular 'Decline and Fall' or Brideshead revisited' and is an excellent introduction to the author for those who have not read any of his other works.
Placing one of his upper class wasters in such a foreign world as LA is a stroke of genius and the culture clash is brilliantly exposed. Dennis Barlow is the perfect stoic anti-hero, instantly loveable and detestable at once.
If you've read any of Waugh's other long novels, you'll love every page, if not this is a perfect introduction to a master of storytelling.
Once this is over and we meet the hero working at the pet mortuary, the book takes off and keeps flying.
This isn't set to last and in fact doesn't as very early on Sir Francis is fired from his Hollywood job at Megalopolitan Studio's and decides to take his own life, in doing so his nephew Dennis is left in charge of the funeral and ends up in the necropolis `Whispering Glades' where death seems like a wonderful option and can have all the finest trimmings and sometimes come out looking better than you did when you were alive. "Why, if he'd sat on an atom bomb, they'd make him presentable." That line and its delivery made me laugh for about ten minutes. It's very dark humour with sprinklings of almost campness throughout.
It is going through the rigmarole of funeral procedures and arrangements for his uncle that Dennis meets the beautiful Aimee Thanatogenos, a corpse cosmetician, and becomes besotted starting not only one of the funniest and slightly outrageous books I have had the good fortune of reading, but also the unlikeliest but most readable love triangles between Dennis, Aimee and an embalmer called Mr Joyboy that leads to a rather shock ending I wasn't expecting.Read more ›
It is surprising that such a seemingly light book contains so much material...
The minute I finished reading it, I gave it away to encourage the (now) second owner to read such a masterpiece...
So my advice: just buy it now(and give it away when you finish it!)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
More of a short story really. A curious subject matter, especially for its time - perhaps the story's chief distinction. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Woolco
I first read this when I was fifteen (I'd just seen a TV programme entitled The American Way of Death and this book seemed to be an appropriate next step). Read morePublished 18 months ago by Wilkinson65
I heard the novel first as a radio adaptation and loved it. As it was some while ago decided to read the book as well. Somehow it wasn't as funny.Published 20 months ago by Jane1