Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop Now



on 19 September 2017
I was very taken with this novel when I first read it over 50 years ago. But it didn't really stand well to a re-read. It's interesting to compare Wauh's style here with that of his first novel - Decline and Fall, which is a real 5 star classic and stands the test of time. Black Mischief comes after several years of Waugh's journalism - much of it in Africa, I think - and seems unpolished. Inferior also to his novel Scoop, also set largely in Africa.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 October 2017
A delightful listening experience. You must take it in the context when it was written. Some may find offence to some of the situations, but give it a go.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 July 2015
ery interesting as a oentary on prewar attitudes and the E Afrian life at the tie.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 September 2013
Although this is not my favourite novel by Waugh, it is undoubtedly an outrageously un-politically correct tale, set in an imagined African state. Waugh wrote the novel after a winter spent in East and Central Africa, which also resulted in a non-fiction work Remote People (Penguin Modern Classics). The imaginary state of Azania may be remote, but new Emperor, Seth, has been Oxford educated and is desperate to bring modernity to his confused population. "I am the New Age. I am the Future" he declares, as his troops are locked in a decisive battle with the usurper Seyid.

Do not imagine for one moment that Evelyn Waugh has written this in an attempt to show that Europeans are, in some way, superior to Africa or that they should be involved in running a country they have no understanding of. Indeed, it is certainly the Europeans on which his sharpest satire is aimed. At the capital Debra Dowa, the diplomatic powers are utterly ridiculous. The English 'Envoy Extraordinary' is more concerned with growing asparagus and playing in the bathtub than any official papers; while attache the Hon William Bland has forgotten the outcome of the battle between hearing the news and climbing the stairs. The French are involved in attempting to discover what the English are up to; imagining all sorts of plots and ciphers which don't exist, and corruption and incompetence are everywhere When Basil Seal, always "in revolutions and murders and things" decides he is bored with London, he uses a vague aquaintance with Seth to become his right hand man. This book is absolutely outrageous, very funny and shows why Evelyn Waugh is still one of the greatest writers this country has ever produced.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 December 2012
Waugh's prose is exquisite, it has the timing and rhythm of a fine comedian; the story is outrageously politically incorrect, but totally even handed in its cynicism and social judgement it is, in fact, a classic. I have read it several times over the years and it is fresh each time I start again. I have it in soft back, hard back, and now conveniently on Kindle.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 March 2015
Nothing to add.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 February 2010
I found Black Mischief an enjoyable read.It is nice to read politically incorrect statements about Africa and Africans without causing offence or being offensive. Waugh writes about a time that is now just a dim memory in history, but the morals of what was happening in Africa then still hold true to-day-corrupt emperors[dictators]unscrupulous assistants, the white man knows best how to rule the country, english traditions transposed to a different climate,and cultural environment
I do not think that this is Evelyn Waugh's best novel, but it certainly fits well into the genre of 1930's writing and the theme that Waugh selects for many of his novels
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 October 2015
One of the great novels of the 20th century. The accuracy of the satire is unerring yet the book is one of the funniest every written. 20th century literature at its best.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 July 2009
On the back of this is a quote from the times literary supplement describing it as outrageously funny, but despite this it is in parts actually humorous, it also includes at various points, a revolution, some camels, people living in a car, a con artist, chain letters, cannibalism and Gilbert and Sullivan. Imagine Carry On meets diet Palahniuk and you might be close to this "classic" novel. Ideal for those who think Waugh is all upper class boredom and fannying about in stately homes. If you have some time to kill pick this up you won't be disappointed, well unless you think James Patterson is the greatest writer ever in which case why exactly are you reading this review.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 July 2001
I thought about this book and Waugh's other comic African novel, "Scoop," after reading Michela Wrong's "Looking for Mr. Kurtz." While most of the news arising from sub-Saharan Africa today is tragic, behind these stories are tales that would be comic if not for their horrible endings. In "Black Mischief," Waugh tells the tale of a mythical African king whose English university education instills in him the desire to hammer the values and ethics of his nation into Western molds. He seeks the aid of a university classmate, Basil Seal, but Seal, upon his arrival, finds himself in the middle of a civil war. While the characters and dialogue seem drawn from a cartoon, and upon a superficial reading, racist, they ultimately ring true, and even at times compassionate, especially when measured against events in central Africa in the past ten years. Do not read this book though for a lesson in political science. It's a grand romp, and a sure page turner.
0Comment| 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse