A Handful Of Dust
By Evelyn Waugh
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A Handful Of Dust by Evelyn Waugh ranked # 34 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
A Handful of Dust is a novel by Evelyn Waugh published in 1934.
The title is an allusion to T. S. Eliot's 1922 poem The Waste Land.
Waugh's characters are almost entirely unsympathetic. Brenda is
entirely self-involved. John Beaver's greatest skills are getting
other people to pay for his drinks and being shown around a house.
Only Tony has redeeming qualities, for which he is endlessly punished.
The novel is representative of Waugh's wit and biting satire.
The plot is very loosely analogous to Eliot's The Waste Land: It
begins among decadent upper-class Europeans, bored and directionless,
living in the residues of a nobler history. Brenda turns to frivolity
and eventually adultery, as the various female characters do in the
second and third parts of the poem.
In the end, one of them seeking more meaning travels to the jungle looking for the remnants of older civilization--as the grail quest and the jungles of India figure into the later parts of the poem.
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