As recently featured in Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation.
Absolutely hilarious. I read the first fifteen pages without laughing once. Until I finally caught on to Waugh’s humor. And I hesitate to say it’s subtle either, because it’s not. Once you learn to spot it, it’s everywhere all the sudden. Like those magic pictures with those dots you stare at until finally you can see the eagle and it’s in 3D and now you can’t make it go away even if you try. A miracle. But you could have skimmed right over it without even noticing. But now you know. But you could have missed it. But now you won’t. Because I just told you. This was not an example of Evelyn Waugh’s style of humor. I don’t know what the hell that was, but I don’t want to mislead anyone. Waugh’s satire is a sort of brand-everyone free-for-all in which no one is safe. And it’s sort of a two tone affair as well with prep school lightness on the top, but then underneath there is some real venom there too, which, for my money, it isn’t that far off from Lenny Bruce.
In other news, Decline And Fall had to have been the template for J.K. Rolling Pin when she was ‘researching’ Harry Potter. The young boys prep school with all the social and psychological trappings, ethnic and class distinctions, the many silly traditions, the silly names for people and things. Harry Potter is basically like what if you took Decline And Fall and dumbed it down, took out all the satire and replaced it with a lot of damned inefficient magic spells. Form of—a giant puddle of money.