A Short Review of Brideshead Revisited
So I’m finally wrapping up Brideshead Revisited and hope to have my review up within the next week or so.
I’ll give you a tease, though: I love this novel.
Though I’ve read quite a few novels about post World War 1 British aristocracy, none of them have pulled me in quite like this story by Evelyn Waugh. You’ve got the middle class narrator, Charles Ryder, who has an unusual attraction, even obsession, with the well-to-do Flyte family.
His obsession begins with Sebastian, then moves on to Sebastian’s sister, Julia. The story has betrayal, love, extramarital affairs, and all the baggage that goes with them. Charles Ryder is a difficult narrator to “pull for”–mainly because of the way he treats his wife and children. He’s an absentee father of the worst sort.
I love how The Guardian opens this piece about Brideshead Revisited:
If you read Brideshead Revisited for the first time in your teens (as so many of us do) you can come away with the idea of a Cinderella story: middle-class Charles is scooped up by the happy aristocracy – the deserving poor boy looking longingly through the window is allowed in, gawps at the magnificence, is grateful for the attention, and of course falls in love with Sebastian.
But when you read it again, you see that Brideshead is not a book about Oxford, or homoerotic love, or social climbing: it’s a book about religion – and about families. It is Sebastian who is in love with Charles, jealously wanting to keep him to himself.
This is a great novel, and I’ll go ahead and tell you I’ll be recommending it.
Read more about the main characters over at The Guardian.
My review is coming next week.