peteg's blog

Evelyn Waugh: Black Mischief

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A recent review in the New York Times pointed to this, and David Bowie apparently has Waugh's Vile Bodies on his book list. I extracted both from the UNSW Library. As with the last Waugh I read, this is heavy-handed satire of (pre-)colonial Africa and the venalities/incompetencies/etc. of the foreigners and locals. I didn't find him that funny this time around, perhaps because I could see where he was going too often. The concluding cannibal's feast, where the liberated diplomat's daughter is unknowingly consumed by her caddish boyfriend-of-the-previous-moment, prefigures Ishiguro's climax in When We Were Orphans. Mercifully a quick read.