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4.2 out of 5 stars
162
4.2 out of 5 stars
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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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on 25 May 2017
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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on 10 August 2017
First a disclaimer i love Evelyn Waugh's writing , Brides head remains one of my favourite books of all time, as does the sword of honour trilogy . However i am sad to say i found this one dated . It was more of a farce as if the author had decided to take a swipe at various targets, public school education, class differences , prison administration , the judiciary . I felt bored . I am dubious as to whether the other books i have not read before will be a disappointment. No doubt i will let you know.
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on 7 July 2017
I had never read any Evelyn Vaugh and for some reason imagined him to be a literary luminary. He may yet be one, it's only my point of view, but I was sadly disappointed.
To be fair there are a few very funny lines, but the story seemed almost meaningless and the writing tepid at best. A lot of people will almost certainly disagree, but it wasn't for me.
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on 9 July 2017
Evelyn Waugh's first and arguably funniest novel - the recent TV version was excellently done. There used to be plenty of third-rate public schools just like this. School sports day is the outstandingly amusing part of the book, in my opinion.
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on 9 May 2017
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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on 17 May 2017
Rather silly really.
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on 20 May 2017
A highly amusing insight into individual characters and social divisions that can still be identified in today's society
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on 16 April 2017
wonderful black comedy with its cast of misfits!
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on 3 May 2017
Classic British understated humour, characters larger than life but still reflecting attitudes today.
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