Brideshead Revisited book review

We’ve had Brideshead Revisited lying around the house for years so I finally picked it up last week. First off, I want more Evelyn Waugh. Second off, why hasn’t any writer written their own version of what happens next? Does Charles Ryder ever find happiness? Does Julia ever remarry? What becomes of Sebastian in the end, does a brilliant young man like him truly end his days as a porter for a monastery?

It’s such a tragedy, of no discernible cause. Why does Sebastian hate his mother so much that it drives him to drink? From all I can see his family is a bit odd, a bit eccentric, a bit cold to each other, but not to the extent that it would drive him to despair. But I guess the point of seeing things through Ryder’s eyes is to show that each family has its strange dynamics that no outsider can ever truly appreciate, no matter how long they spend with the family. And so in the end poor Charlie finds himself booted to the curb and the family goes on as dysfunctionally as ever. I can only hope they found some measure of contentment in their final decisions.

I hear there’s a movie and a TV series out now, but I don’t think they could capture the true magic of the book, because most of it depends on the power of your own imagination. I might give them a shot one day, though.

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