Vile Bodies

Vile Bodies

A Novel

eBook - 2012
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"A wickedly witty and iridescent novel" ( Time ) from one of England's greatest satirists takes aim at the generation of Bright Young Things that dominated London high society in the 1920s.

In the years following the First World War a new generation emerged, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of 1920s London, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and sophistication, exercised their inventive minds and vile bodies in every kind of capricious escapade. In these pages a vivid assortment of characters, among them the struggling writer Adam Fenwick-Symes and the glamorous, aristocratic Nina Blount, hunt fast and furiously for ever greater sensations and the hedonistic fulfillment of their desires. Evelyn Waugh's acidly funny satire reveals the darkness and vulnerability beneath the sparkling surface of the high life.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2012.
ISBN: 9780316253888
031625388X
Characteristics: 1 online resource.

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dennismmiller
Mar 02, 2019

Adam wants to marry Nina. Nina wants to marry Adam. Unfortunately, he doesn't have any money. Their pursuit of happiness amidst the anarchic social swirl of 1920s London is at the center of Vile Bodies, but it is the unsettled conditions underlying the swirl itself that are the real target of Waugh's satire. So, once again, this time in prose, Prufrock wanders unaware into the wasteland.

j
jwfolk
Oct 29, 2018

This was quite amusing, but in a limited manner for current readers. I believe that it would have been far more understandable for readers of the era; names, caricatures, parties: all may have been recognizable to an informed reader of the period.

Waugh's writing is somewhat breathy and brittle, but certainly fluid. There are passages I particularly liked, such as that from which the title is taken: "'Oh, Nina, what a lot of parties.' (Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Wild West parties, Russian parties, Circus parties, parties where one had to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St. John's Wood, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and night clubs, in windmills and swimming baths, tea parties at school where one ate muffins and meringues and tinned crab, parties at Oxford where one drank brown sherry and smoked Turkish cigarettes, dull dances in London and comic dances in Scotland and disgusting dances in Paris–all that succession and repetition of massed humanity....Those vile bodies....)"

It ends on the battlefield of the First World War, and that makes for a sober end, but one that features a return of one of the early angels of the book, sullied and shop-worn, eager to engage. It is a grim business, however, seeped in irony.

I would read it again.

l
lReaderl
Oct 06, 2016

Wonderful satire written about the young generation of England and their outlook on life as World War II is unraveling. Straightforward read--recommended.

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