Archive | July 13, 2013

Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh


When I was at uni as an undergrad I went through I big Waugh phase. I loved his turn of phrase, his satirical tales, his world weariness.

Now I find the tone of the novel too melancholic. Of course, I cannot expect otherwise for an novel set just before and during the phoney war of WWII and up till 1940 with the failed Dakar expedition.

Book one of the Sword of Honour trilogy is full of the pointless, disorganised, muddle of army life. Tedium, boredom, nonsensical orders and moments of extreme terror.

What I love about reading the book now is being able to google characters and find out details of the people on whom it is said Waugh based some of his characters in this semi-autobiographical novel, including this interesting character: Adrain Carton de Wiart.

I remember why I kept this for so many years. It is a brilliant novel. I will re-read the next two novels in the trilogy soon.

($5.95 can you believe it? Me either.)