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4.0 out of 5 stars
63
4.0 out of 5 stars
A Handful of Dust (Penguin Modern Classics)
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£7.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 9 December 2011
Having been educated in a Comprehensive School more concerned with War Poets lest we should dive into some sort of combat debacle with the Soviets, I was completely unaware of Waugh, until by chance I heard the title reviewed on Book chat/review/club/whatever programme. Radio 4 Controller take note (I am not in your usual demograhic (37))!

To the book, I loved it!! Other reviews here will be brimming with satarist desire etc etc. Given that this book was written in the 1930's (mid wars, thats the First and Second World Wars, you the ones, Kaiser Sausage about 1905 and then Hitler/ Poland invasion etc etc, thats the modern GCSE history students catching up now). Waugh transported me right to the time and place, my scant knowledge of the pre-1945 society in Britain was confirmed albeit I know satarically, truly wonderful. Some absolute classic one liners and repostes which made me LOL(laugh out loud) or alternatively SMTM(Smile to myself).

Realistically you should read this book with some Orwell, i.e. Road to Wigan Pier, Down and Out in Paris and London, to get some time set realism. However, that is not to dis service Waugh, he is looking top end, and if you engage in the whole time/reading experience it only makes Waugh funnier.

I love the writing style, if you are wavering just buy it!

PS, I realise I have not mentioned any characters or the story, buy it, if you have read this far you will love it!
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on 12 August 2014
This novel I had read many years ago.Missing from my bookcase.Now I have read it again,and enjoyed it ever more so.
William.
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on 5 May 2014
This book is a fresh as it was when it was first written. It is a witty, satirical novel with a great plot.
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on 13 June 2013
Evelyn Waugh at his best, always a delight to read his books. Definitely in my top 5 of favourite authors
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on 15 July 2015
London upper class life in the thirties, cynically lampooned and exposed by Waugh's elegant writing.
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on 27 June 2015
Classic! Definitely, as described well packaged and delivered on time thank you
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on 24 May 2016
A good story but abit disappointed with the ending, thought it ended abruptly.
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on 17 April 2015
A classic. Wickedly funny, savagely satirical, surprisingly moving at times
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on 3 September 2014
Very pleased with this book and your service
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on 9 June 2012
Given that 'A Handful Of Dust' takes its title from the line 'I will show you fear in a handful of dust' from TS Eliot's the Waste Land, I anticipated that the novel would be somehow a psychological thriller.

Instead A Handful Of Dust is a black comedy novel about Brenda and Tony Last who live comfortably in Tony's ancestral home with their son John Andrew, they are part of wider High Society and both receive parties of visitors and attend parties elsewhere.

Brenda, who has become bored engages in a dalliance with a young man, apparently something that many women of her status have been known to do, but when things go too far their ordinary life is shattered.

The back of my copy states that the reader doesn't know whose side Waugh is on, but to my mind it was definitely Tony's, and Waugh sets out to paint a picture of women in society of that era, who can and do ruin men for the sake of it and get off unblemished. It's quite a modern outlook if you consider that the maxim in most divorces is that "the woman gets the lot".

A Handful Of Dust is often funny with plenty of darkly comic moments, such as when Tony, who is innocent of wrongdoing attempts to be indiscreet to avoid a scandal for Brenda. Tony is a tragicomic long suffering figure, and several points are made about the imbalance in acceptable standards.

The end is one of the weirdest endings I have ever read in a novel. Truly bizarre. But, the ultimate message seems to promote the argument that men, rather than women are disposable as long as society at large is happy. Thought provoking. 7/10
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