Friday, April 14, 2006

What is Waugh good for?

Recently finished a biography of Evelyn Waugh, written by one of his best friends.

Hilarious. Mostly because best friend (also a novelist) was plainly settling scores. The biog went something like this.

"Brideshead Revisited is a flawless book, of course, but, if one had to list flaws, then they would be... (continues for several pages)..."

"Evelyn was rather charitable about this occasion in his autobiography, when, in reality, at the time he was simply too drunk/rude/mad/catholic..."

"That year, I also published a much more minor work, which the critics were rather kinder about than they were to dear Evelyn's obviously superior work..."

"Once Evelyn left, I again found myself apologising to the Queen..."

I mention all this because I'm enjoying re-reading Evelyn Waugh at the moment. No-one does Hapless Innocent Crushed By The System quite like him.

Or so I thought, until someone lent me a marvellous book called Script Doctor, about a young script editor crushed by a hopelessly exaggerated BBC full of drunks, mad writers and monstrous executives. It would be laugh out loud funny, only it's an autobiography.

1 comment:

James said...

I'm trying to read Cartmel's latest novel at the moment. You'd have thought that prose so simplistic it makes Terrance Dicks look like Charles Dickins would make a book quick and easy to digest, but no, he manages to be horribly turgid at the same time...