Vile Bodies
by Evelyn Waugh

WaughScreen shot 2013-03-01 at 3.34.25 PMThe on-again, off-again romance between Adam Fenwick-Symes and Nina Blount set in the midst of the Bright Young Things, the decadent London youth society between the two world wars.  (Warning: extremely black humor, but makes me laugh out loud)

Opening paragraph:  It was clearly going to be a bad crossing.

Quotes from critics:  “One of the century’s great masters of English prose.” (Time); “generally considered as one of the leading English prose writers of the 20th century” (Wikipedia); “ Waugh’s comic universe has an aspect of vigorous bleak chaos which both outrages and delights.” (author Malcolm Bradbury); “Wonderfully funny” (Life); “A savage study in public and private morals. . . . It is uproarious.  It is also ferocious.”  (New York Times)

Bio: Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh (1903-1966) was an English writer of 15 novels, biographies, travel books as well as being a prolific journalist and reviewer.  Waugh seems to have been a rather unpleasant fellow, “the nastiest tempered man in England,” according to James Lees-Milne, somewhat of an anti-Semite and racist; however, he had a wide circle of friends and was generous to individuals and charities.  He was a staunch conservative and converted to become a staunch Catholic.

Also worth reading:  All of his early books published before 1945 (e.g., Decline and Fall and Scoop).