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The Loved One Paperback – Bargain Price, November 30, 1977
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The prolific Waugh--an English novelist and satirist perhaps best known for Brideshead Revisited--described this slim, vicious comedy as "a little nightmare produced by the unaccustomed high living of a brief visit to Hollywood." The setting is the L.A. funeral industry, where Whispering Glades provides deluxe service to deceased stars and their families, and the Happier Hunting Ground does the same for dead pets. (At Whispering Glades, staff must refer to the corpses only as "Loved Ones.") The industry provides a perfect foil for Waugh's deadpan wit--and an apt metaphor for the movie business.
(in full The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy) Satiric novel by Evelyn Waugh, published in 1948. The novel concerns the experiences of a young Englishman living in southern California. It attacks the snobbery of Englishmen and the stupidity, vulgarity, and intellectual sterility of Americans. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Waugh's macabre novella pokes fun at the ceremonial nonsense with which we shroud death, packaging that manages to render the inevitable obscene. It's amusing, if not a "wickedly funny" satire as promised in the blurbs, and would perhaps be more successfully humorous on film.
Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece