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Decline and Fall (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 5 Jul 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (5 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141180900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141180908
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'The funniest book I have ever read' (Julian Symons The Times)

His first, most perfect novel ... a ruthlessly comic plot

(John Mortimer Guardian)

Book Description

The many adventures of Paul Pennyfeather - Waugh's first exploration of Oxford student life

--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Susannah B (SusieB) TOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 April 2017
Format: Audio Download Verified Purchase
Evelyn Waugh's satirical and very amusing debut novel 'Decline and Fall' focuses on the unassuming and hapless Paul Pennyfeather - who, by being in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting caught up in the drunken antics of the Bollinger Club, ends up running trouserless through the grounds of his college at Oxford, and is subsequently sent down for 'indecent behaviour'. Paul's unsympathetic guardian refuses to allow him access to his inheritance and, in consequence, Paul finds himself taking a job as a junior schoolmaster at Llanabba Castle, a fourth-rate public school in North Wales, run by the eccentric Dr Augustus Fagin. At Llanabba, Paul comes into contact with a whole host of weird and wonderful characters, amongst whom is the Honourable Margot Beste-Chetwynde, the wealthy mother of one of his pupils, and Paul soon finds himself falling in love with the lovely Margot. But Mrs Beste-Chetwynde, unbeknownst to Paul, earns her income in a rather shady manner, and before long the unfortunate Mr Pennyweather is caught up yet again in another disgrace which is none of his making - but to explain further would spoil the story for those who have yet to read it.

This is an amusingly satirical and very entertaining story and although, as a first novel, it is not without its tiny flaws, is nevertheless a very impressive debut, which, if taken in the spirit with which it was written, provides enjoyment from the beginning to the end. I opted for the Audible download edition which is superbly narrated by the actor Michael Maloney, whose impressive range of voices and accents (especially Margot Beste-Chetwynde and Augustus Fagin) had me laughing aloud (which was a bit embarrassing on public transport) and I was thoroughly entertained throughout. Recommended.

4 Stars.
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Apologies, if this sounds like heresy, but I set out to enjoy this, 'laugh a page' book, by a well respected author.. It is called satirical and is supposed to contain many outrageous comments, which would not be allowed, in books of today. I found it, tedious, unfunny and certainly not outrageous. The constant attempt to create characters, with double barrelled and even triple barrelled, sounded affected. Imagine someone being called Circumference and another Tangent, That must have taken a great deal of thought! Sorry, it may be labelled a ' classic' but the reason passed me by.
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5 stars? The novel's funny! Paul Pennyfeather's escapades in Llanaba as a teacher are Waugh at his best. Paul makes little of his problems, even after a month in solitary, declaring how he wants to be 'static' amid the dynamism of events. it's a clever ploy on Waugh's part, as it keeps the plot going at a clip with little brooding or introspection. Public schools are left withering after Waugh's satirical thumb has squashed them. Satisfying.
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After watching a bunch of actors doing "comedy acting" in the TV version I decided to download and re-read the original. These wonderful characters are so much funnier in your imagination than on screen!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rather silly really.
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A highly amusing insight into individual characters and social divisions that can still be identified in today's society
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wonderful black comedy with its cast of misfits!
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Classic British understated humour, characters larger than life but still reflecting attitudes today.
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