Decline and Fall" is the laugh out loud debut novel from Evelyn Waugh, a quasi-Dickensian farce that attacks various aspects of English culture, from education to politics to marriage to every day social norms. The story centers around one Paul Pennyfeather,a young man who is expelled from an Oxford-like university due to a misunderstanding. Ever since this first scene the reader understands that he's reading a novel of the absurd. The point is never to tell a credible story with a tight plot, but to develop a savage satire on the British society, especially the educational system. After being expelled, Paul finds himself with no money and so is forced to get a job at a school of the worst level. His colleagues are pathetic and their small misadventures are hilarious. Of course, Waugh's humor is very British: caustic, understated, and at the same time some passages, like the athletic event, are excessive to the point of ridicule. At some point, Paul makes the acquaintance of the mother of one of his pupils, a rich and beautiful widow who proposes to him in marriage. This seems to be Paul's lucky break of a lifetime, and he eagerly accepts. But the woman runs a strange business which will produce the decline and fall of the title....Continua
The Welsh are the only nation in the world that has produced no graphic or plastic art, no architecture, no drama. They just sing, sing and blow down wind instruments of plated silver.
There's little to be said about this really. It's a rather humorous novel in a similar style to Oscar Wilde. It has quite an odd plot, if you can call it that. It's more like a series of events held together by a central character, in order to satirise education, social classes, and prison.
Anyway, it is quite funny, and well written. It's also only a couple of hundred pages, and easy going, so you'll finish it in just a few hours. The (not-so) subtle references to the Bullingdon Club and Dartmoor Prison make it even more enjoyable....Continua