17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Definitely not one of Waugh's best works,
This review is from: Vile Bodies (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I chose this book for my reading group as I am a great fan of Waugh (this is the sixth book of his that I have read). What a mistake! I should have listened to my son (another keen fan) who warned me that this is one of his most difficult and, it has to be said, boring books, and that it would not endear Waugh to new readers. He was spot on. I read it with mounting disappointment - and found it an excellent cure for insomnia (on four consecutive nights I didn't get further than the same page). However I dutifully read it to the end and can't say I laughed once. Worse, though, is that the other members in my book group also found it deadly dull and most of them couldn't get through it, short though it is.
If you are new to Waugh don't start here! Read Decline and Fall first (Waugh's first novel) or Scoop which is really funny, or The Loved One, a delicious satire on the American funeral industry (and the first Waugh book I read, that made me want to read more).
This book to me is an interesting period piece, and does say something about the inter-war era, and even has parallels with today's cult of celebrity, but it is rather unfunny, and lacks the style and wit of Waugh's other works.
If you want to know what it's about without suffering the boredom of reading it, get the DVD of Stephen Fry's film version, "Bright Young Things", which manages to inject interest and fun into the story. I shall be arranging a showing of that to my fellow book club members so that they won't feel the book was a wasted exercise. Incidentally this must be one of the few instances where the film is actually better than the book!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Oct 2009 09:50:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Oct 2009 09:52:17 BDT
Louise K says:
I agree - apart from one thing, I was able to gallop through this inane book at break-neck speed. I usually consider myself to make excellent choices when choosing books. Well I let my self down here! Like you I did not laugh once; the humour such as it is is puerile and will suit those for whom the word bottom as a child caused much merriment. There is only one other book that I dislike as much as this and that is Breakfast at Tiffany's - definitely a case where the film is better and I don't like that much either. This is only my second Waugh book - I have read 'A handful of dust'. I liked that very much indeed, so to hate this with a passion was a huge surprise. To think I was actually looking forward to reading it. Luckily I only paid 50p for it. I would give it no stars if I could. It makes me shudder to think of it!
In reply to an earlier post on 29 Dec 2009 21:49:13 GMT
Thanks for your feedback Louise, and apologies for the lateness but I have only just spotted your comment while reviewing my reviews! Thanks also for your opinion about Breakfast at Tiffany's. This is a book I have not read but keep meaning to . . . maybe it can go to the end of the (long) list! Do please read more of Waugh as most of his work is brilliant. I started with The Loved One, a satire on the US funeral business. Very short and very funny!
Posted on 15 Mar 2010 08:57:46 GMT
Alex W says:
I think Hiljean has hit the proverbial nail on the head with his review: Vile Bodies seems below par when compared to other Waugh works.
In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jan 2012 12:46:03 GMT
I agree with you - I was very disappointed, I love period books especially the 20's and 30's eras but, this just bored me to bits, I couldn't really find anything that kept me particularly interested - some sharp wit would have welcome - it just didn't do it for me anyway.
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