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The Loved One (Modern English-language texts) Unknown Binding – 1967

4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (1967)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006BSN9S
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 10.4 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
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
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One of Waugh's less well known works, The Loved One is a black romp through the strange world of California's Funerary parlours. A tragic love affair begins at Whispering Glades, where many of California's deceased elite are buried, preserved and even put on display and ends at the Happier Hunting Ground pet mortuary. Less riotous or slapstick than Waugh's other books, The Loved One is however extremely humorous with a truly tragic ending on a par with Shakespeare himself.
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.
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This is one of Waugh's lesser known books, but should by no means be forgotten or ignored. His black humour is as prevalent as ever, and his characters are as well created as anyone in Brideshead or any or his more well known 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.
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By A Customer on 8 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is utterly wicked and in thoroughly bad taste. In short, I absolutely loved it. This work is not for the faint of heart nor for the easily offended. I'm surprised that Waugh was never sued for libel by Forest Lawn in Los Angeles. Having lived in LA for two years, I did visit Forest Lawn. It is everything that Waugh describes and more!
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I always recommend this to people with the advice to keep struggling through the first chapter, which is a couple of old bores talking about people you don't know yet.

Once this is over and we meet the hero working at the pet mortuary, the book takes off and keeps flying.
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Format: Paperback
As `The Loved One' opened I wasn't sure that I was going to get on with it too well. It had a group of pompous British expatriates discussing many things banal in the material heights of Los Angeles. It is here and in this company that Dennis Barlow, an English poet, has come to stay with his uncle Sir Francis and tried to make a name for himself. However Dennis hasn't managed and instead finds himself reading books behind a desk at a rather unsuccessful pet's funeral parlour and not really getting anywhere in life, though seemingly happy with his lot..

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.
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By Katharine Kirby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I know that far greater brains than mine have reviewed this book since 1948 when it was first published, but having read Brideshead Revisited several times I decided to try another by Evelyn Waugh and I am pleased that I did. This little volume is a delightfully quirky read but also strangely fascinating - as fresh today as ever I suspect. Dennis Barlow is in America doing his best to get by and to remain a poet -ready to turn his hand to anything that needs to be done and that is the way he truly stars - doing so terrifically well in the end. Wonderful names populate the story - Mr Joyboy the mortician, Mr Slump the Agony Uncle... All rather like Cold Comfort Farm in the same tremendously funny tongue in cheek style. The goings on at Whispering Glades have to be read to be believed. I found it all to be great fun and well worth getting to know. On now to Decline and Fall!
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Format: Paperback
An easy read (a bit too quick for my liking), but full with imageries that would make you smile and even laugh. I have read this book months ago and there is still a scene that is stuck in my head. The macabre element of the story (dealing with corpses is a regular occurence) is skillfully used to provide an insight into how people get on with their lives regardless of what the job is - you actually forget at some point that the plots are taken place in funeral houses. The anglo-american differences evoked, further enrich this book by given it a further cultural-clash dimension.
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!)
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