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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 May 2017
A comically unflattering portrait of the privileged party generation of a bygone age. The author is at his funniest when writing about fake news, celebrity worship, and best of all, the worship of totally fictitious celebrities created by fake news.
An amusing and enjoyable read, spoiled only by the longwinded introduction in the edition I downloaded. I never want to read a load of guff about a story before I've read the actual story. The guff would have been more relevant at the end.
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on 12 May 2017
Good edition.
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on 17 July 2014
Some critics rate Evelyn Waugh among the top five English language writers of the 20th century. On the basis of Vile Bodies, and other books by EW, I wouldn't disagree with that, although such claims are always contentious. To be frank, much as I enjoyed the book, I thought the opening was rather rambling and didn't quite capture the interest. But once I'd got a handle on the main characters, the pace picked up with sharp lively dialogue that epitomised the wit and snobbery of the English upper middle classes of the early 1900s. Some of the writing is very modern, but other parts are curiously dated. From time to time Waugh throws in an authorial observation that is almost Victorian. But overall the writing flows pleasantly with an engaging storyline that focuses on bittersweet romance between Adam and Nina and the numerous outrageous scams that flow past them almost unnoticed.

The Penguin edition has a lot of notes on the text: which some might find helpful but which I found rather laboured and dull.
However they did not detract from my enjoyment of the book.
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on 23 January 2017
Vile Bodies is stuffed with farcical characters whose Jazz Age lives are a non-stop series of parties and adventures – endless cocktail parties, tiresome but amusing encounters with half-mad socialites, a motor car race etc. No one seems terribly bothered or affected by any piece of news or turn of events in this world, including the loss or acquisition of huge sums of money. There is much wit on display and this is undoubtedly a good caricature of the time. However, if you’ve read similar novels, I probably wouldn’t recommend this one as there is little plot and the characters, being caricatures, lack depth and fail to hold one’s interest. (Instead, I would recommend The Beautiful and Damned by Fitzgerald).
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on 26 April 2017
i loved it 40 years OK. . I Thought it was pretty poor now!
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This novel is set between the wars when the age of the Toff was coming to an end. Evelyn Waugh wrote about the IT generation of his age, which he was a member of with dazzling acerbity. This is a virtuosic masterpiece written by our greatest satirist on a subject that he knew only too well. The 'Bright Young Things' as they were popularly known as, or vile bodies as Waugh calls them were the type of people who when older would populate government and senior positions of power. It is ultimately for the reader to make up his mind about the characters, but there is a bit of us that wish we could get away with some of their shenanigans. This is without doubt a highly funny and very satisfying read, which you will want to come back to again and again.
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on 23 April 2017
great book, so funny
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on 31 January 2010
I'm not one to read classics on a regular basis, but I like the period and it was well worth it. The style does not feel like an 'old' book, far more like something you could read in a new release, the decadence and spontaneity, yet the closeness of the bread-line was startling in these characters but that was what it was like at the time, so this book feels like a window into their lives that seem so much more fun than our own.
In my copy Evelyn Waugh writes that during the writing of the book, he underwent some bitter experience, that effected the entire tone of the novel. I could not ascertain the exact point where he does that but he his quite right. The end is so bleak yet beautiful with such heavily ladled sarcasm I think it is a work of masterpiece. Ok slightly over the top, but well worth a read!
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on 3 July 2015
Book was a bit worn but arrived promptly
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on 14 June 2012
The first chapter didn't impel me to read on but, due to references to this book during a television programme, I continued. It was the term 'bright young things', the period of history, and the Buckinghamshire setting of Colonel Blount's home that intrigued me. Waugh introduced new terms to the English language, delved deeper into the social concerns of this sector of society and all on my doorstep!
The characters are typecast; a device that develops the reader's view of the society. There are humerous moments which shroud more serious events. But then a society that is light and frivolous would overlook the serious and there is comedy in that. Well worth a read.
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