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Brideshead Revisited Paperback – December 11, 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The story is complex. It is told in the first person by narrator Charles Ryder, who develops a close and possibly homoerotic relationship with artistocrat Sebastian Flyte while the two are students at Oxford. Seduced by the glamor of Flyte's way of life and the beauty of his ancestrial home at Brideshead, Ryder becomes deeply involved with Flyte's family as well--a Roman Catholic family in which the various members either use their religion to manipulate others or actively rebel against it. With the passage of time, Sebastian's drinking expands into alcholism--which appears to be fueled by his guilt at rejecting the church, a rejection which may be based on his own uncertain sexuality. Ryder consequently transfers his affections to Sebastian's sister Julia--but again religion influences their relationship: Julia has made an unfortunate marriage, and although she is willing to engage in an affair with Ryder, she may not be willing to divorce her husband, an act that will cast her completely outside the bounds of her faith.
The characters involved in the story are often extremely charming, but they are not necessarily admirable, and the passage of time in the novel nibbles away at their charm in such a way as to expose their flaws; even the narrator, Charles Ryder, gradually emerges as a somewhat second-rate person of dubious integrity.Read more ›
There is so much to like about it. There is sheer joy in reading Waugh's prose as small nuggets of humor and beauty are uncovered throughout. The characters are pretty over-the-top (done on purpose) which makes them entertaining, but the depth of the characters is the truly striking thing. It's usually between the lines, but these characters are changing dramatically throughout, and for the better. I think the theological discussion running throughout the novel is what really makes it rise to true greatness. Waugh's making a compelling argument for a moral universe, and he is revealing what God's grace may look like working in people's lives.
Brideshead Revisited is true masterpiece that really cannot be missed by any lover of literature or by any person looking for some meaning out there. It's a joy in every sense of the word. This is one book I'm going to come back to.
Brideshead is a classic novel by a genuine master of English prose. Well-worth reading not once, but many times, to understand the depth of the story itself as well as appreciate Waugh's obvious mastery of language.
Also highly recommended is Mortimer's adaptation of the book as a mini-series starring Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Anthony Andrews and Jeremy Irons. It is the definitive Brideshead on film, from the opening lines spoken by Jeremy Irons (as usual, his speaking voice is flawless) to the final scene of Charles in Brideshead chapel during WWII where Charles prays "an ancient prayer, newly learned."
(There are some reviewers who've given it a low rating based on their dislike of the underlying theme of the book. Evelyn Waugh was a convert to Catholicism and his novel revolves around the characters' wandering away but ultimately back again, to faith: for the Flyte family, it is a return to their heritage (two of the most moving scenes are Lord Marchmain's death-bed conversion and Julia's painful but utterly noble decision), and for Charles Ryder (not "Simon" as a one-star critic mistakenly called him! Have you read the book, sir?), it is a newly found conviction. Hence, Book III's title "A Twitch upon the Thread" (quoting Chesterton), the thread referring to the fine, but strong pull of the Catholic faith over these individuals. If this is the book's only 'flaw', as some assert it to be, perhaps this line from a Capra film will help: for those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not, no explanation is possible. Agnostic, atheist or believer, the workings of grace is a mysterious thing.)
When the novel opens at the end of World War II, Capt. Charles Ryder and his troops, looking for a billet, have just arrived at Brideshead, the now-dilapidated family castle belonging to Lord Marchmain, a place where Charles Ryder stayed for an extended period just after World War I, the home of his best friend from Oxford, Lord Sebastian Flyte. The story of his relationship with Sebastian, a man who has rejected the Catholicism imposed on him by his devout mother, occupies the first part of the book. Sebastian, an odd person who carries his teddy bear Aloysius everywhere he goes, tries to escape his upbringing and religious obligations through alcohol. Charles feels responsible for Sebastian's welfare, and though there is no mention of any homosexual relationship, Charles does say that it is this relationship which first teaches him about the depths of love.
The second part begins when Charles separates from the Flytes and his own family and goes to Paris to study painting. An architectural painter, Charles marries and has a family over the next years.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not entirely sure how I feel about this novel. I spent the first half of it thinking it reminded me of Catcher In The Rye (a book which I very much disliked) while it was exploring... Read morePublished 16 days ago by J Bartlett
I have had this book recommended over the years several times. Just recently, I decided that it was finally time to read it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Felix A. Rodriguez
Too many words have been written about "BR." I have nothing to add. I'm just trying to get rid of bunch of items in my queue of purchases to review.Published 1 month ago by M. Alexander
This is the story of Charles Ryder in many ways an ordinary Englishman who goes up to Oxford in 1923, takes up painting, marries, divorces, and ends up in the army during the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Louis Foster
Loved this book, which is totally different from the rest of Waugh's work.Published 2 months ago by Barb Reader
The book is thoroughly lush in its narrative and employed metaphors and dialogue; an orgy of description, albeit classically structured. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alexander Lee
OK - one of those books I was supposed to read in a college English class and really didn't....probably sped read the night before and got a C on the exam. My loss. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wrigley16