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Brideshead Revisited Paperback – December 11, 2012
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"A genuine literary masterpiece....Brideshead Revisited is actually a wildly entertaining, swooningly funny-sad story about an iumpressionable young man, Charles Ryder, who goes to Oxford in the 1930s and falls in love with a family: the wealthy, eccentric, aristocratic Flytes, owners of a grand old country house called Brideshead....Told in flashbacks from the dark days of World War II, the novel is aglimmer with the guttering candle glow of an elegant age that was already passing away."―Lev Grossman, TIME
About the Author
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316216453
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316216456
- Product Dimensions : 5.63 x 1.13 x 8.25 inches
- Publisher : Back Bay Books; Reprint Edition (December 11, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The plot is set in a changing world in Britain and America prior to and during World War II. The PBS series, Brideshead Revisited, aired in the 1980s, and is available on DVD or download today to supplement the reading of this novel. The television series helps bring to life the characters and make them solidify in your memory.
Captain Charles Ryder and his company of soldiers are to set up headquarters at a large estate. Charles recognizes the mansion as Brideshead. The memories of his connection to Brideshead in his youth are awakened.
He was a young artist when he met Lord Sebastian Flyte at Oxford in 1923. Sebastian was very rich and bored. He wanted fun, lightness, silliness; he wanted entertainment to fill the emptiness within. He carried Aloysius, his toy teddy bear everywhere. Charles was infatuated with him. Sebastian was irresponsible but his family bailed him out. His family took steps to oversee his activities and hired Mr. Samgrass to keep an eye on him. Sebastian’s family, especially Lady Marchmain Flyte, his mother, pulled Charles into intimacy in order to control Sebastian. She succeeded in making Charles open up to her, but her attempts to convert Charles to Catholicism failed. Sebastian wanted to get away from his family; he felt trapped. He was less and less in love with Charles as Charles become close to his mother.
Sebastian drank more and more. His family, especially his mother, tried to control this, but Sebastian only drank more heavily. Charles wanted to please Sebastian and win his approval, so he gave him money when he asked for it. Sebastian’s mother coldly asked Charles to leave Brideshead when she found he had given Sebastian money for drinking.
Charles had had enough and distanced himself from Brideshead, although he still pined for Sebastian. He married Celia, a pretty woman, who took pride in his success as a painter and worked hard to promote him. Charles was attracted to her initially but did not love her. After returning from a 2-year trip to Central America where he had gone to renew his artistic inspiration, Charles showed indifference to his wife and children. When he and Celia were on a ship on vacation, he saw Julia, Sebastian’s sister. He was attracted to her because she reminded him of Sebastian.
Julia and Charles both got divorced so they could get married. However, as her father lay dying and Charles did not see the purpose of a priest giving her unconscious father, Lord Marchmain, the “last rites”, she realized that she could not marry Charles and give up her religion.
The author says the book is about faith in God, the Brideshead family vs Charles, who is a nonbeliever. The book is about “the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters”. The book seems to be more than that to me. It is about the choices we make, the paths we take in love and faithfulness.
Top reviews from other countries
Anyway, it's good stuff. It feels more contemporary than I expected, not at all dry, and is actually About Something. Great opening, great ending. Recommended.
Author of 'Cycles of Udaipur'
It's a great book and, of course, it's been made into a Masterpiece Theater series years ago. There are many reviews of this work already, so just to illustrate the excellent writing, I will just say that I think the romantic episode on an ocean liner during a storm at sea (her husband is absent; his wife is laid up with seasickness) is the most romantic passage I can think of in literature.
Told in the first person by Charles Ryder and set initially around 30's before World War 2, the so called Golden Age. A middle class painter, Charles finds himself very much infatuated by the Marchmains and their rather privileged lifestyles. It indicates that all is not as it seems within the family. Themes of homosexuality, strong religious beliefs, alcoholism are threads throughout. I really enjoyed this book but couldn't give it a 5* because I found the beginning rather tedious...but that was probably due to me and my initial reluctance to read it.
Do I recommend it? Give it a go. You could well be surprised as I was.