Saturday, January 17, 2015

20 Minute Book Notes~Brideshead Revisited

I've had so many good intentions to "write a little something" about the books I read. I've actually written about quite a few of them--in my head. When I read that my cyber-friend, J.T., planned to take a 20-minute a day writing challenge this year, I thought, "Yes! That's it. I think I can manage 20 minutes. It may not be eloquent and it certainly won't be exhaustive, but at least I will write something. So, here is my first 20 minute book review (written first with pen an paper--that's how I'm taking the challenge.)

I've wanted to read Evelyn Waugh's novel, Brideshead Revisted for some years now, and in my effort to read more fiction this year I picked BR for my first book of 2015. Besides seeing this book on "must reads" or "good reads" lists, the only impression I brought to this book was a reader's mention of Waugh's beautiful prose.

As soon as I finished reading the book, I turned back the pages--the Kindle pages, that is--to re-read particular scenes and conversations, which had become more meaningful, more poignant, now that the novel had concluded. I didn't feel this way reading the first half of the book. In fact, the thought of giving it up crossed my mind a couple times; the plot seemed indiscernible, and the lives of the skeptical characters, futile and unsympathetic. Shortly after the halfway point, the complex characters began to reveal their depth, albeit through Waugh's understated writing.

I waited to read any reviews or analyses of BR until after I finished the book. I'm glad that I did so that I could make at least some of the discoveries on my own. However, I wish I had read one statement by Waugh made about his book before reading it. He writes in a letter to his literary agent, A.D. Peters:

"The whole thing is steeped in theology, but I begin to agree that theologians won't recognize it."

God is always there, of course, even when it seems He isn't .

I enjoyed Thomas Howard's thoughts after reading the book.


Holly Newman said...

This inspires me to read the book since I saw the TV series years ago and found it emotionally compelling. Thank you! I always love hearing what others are reading. And the 20 minute a day writing goal is a good one I may try too.

Holly Newman said...

Forgot to mention I read Thomas Howard's article too, lots of food for thought here.