Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

Soooo, there are those books that I don't particularly love--that is, they don't grab me by the nosehairs and keep me involved. I can sit back objectively from these books and appreciate the writing or the form or their place within literature, but I don't love them. Such was the case for Vile was an "appreciate" type book.

Adam Symes is engaged to Nina Blount. He loses his money from the outset of the book, and he continues to gain and lose it several more times. Each time, he and Nina decide that if they have no money, they can't get married. And neither of them really seems to care too much. This flippant vapidness is pervasive throughout the book. Adam and Nina are surrounded by the "Bright Young Things" social set whose biggest concerns are drinking. And drinking and drinking. And parties. And drinking. Cheers!

This is a social satire of a novel, and I generally struggle with satire if it's longer than, say, about 100 pages. I rarely find myself able to cozy up to the characters, so that sense of separateness really keeps me from being fully invested.

That said, I did genuinely enjoy the tragic, dark conclusion here.  It's sad, but I guess I like my characters ok if they're drunk but love them if they're drunk and emotionally tortured. More of that!

Even though I didn't love this book, I do intend to watch the film adaptation by Stephen Fry. I think the silliness and offhanded ridiculousness of these characters will play much better on film.

Pub. Date: Original in 1930, this edition in 1977
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780316926119
Source: Bought it! 

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