Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 18 April 2017
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.