Waterstones - Books of the Month for October
It’s intriguing that each of our choices for October’s Books of the Month selection has at its core a genuinely individual protagonist, whether it be the splendidly mysterious Robert Smith of Francis Spufford’s Golden Hill or the impossibly resourceful Felice Benuzzi, taking on the extreme geographical elements and wildlife of East Africa in No Picnic on Mount Kenya. Only books a true doorway to that character’s motives and inner journey, and every title that follows – be it set in pre-Glasnost Russia of Gorky Park or the rural Wales of Waugh’s Decline and Fall – offers something unparalleled and sometimes rather unexpected.
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Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
Described by Simon Heffer in The Guardian as “a canvas on which Waugh, whose list of grudges and grievances was legendary, could exhibit some of the more pressing,” Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall continues to stand as the mordantly funny benchmark of savage British satire. Woebegone theology student Paul Pennyfeather, humiliated and sent down over drunken college larks, finds himself entombed in a minor, Welsh-set public school, destined for many miserable years of teaching. His attraction to a pupil’s well-heeled mother offers a tantalising route to escape, but their subsequent engagement leads to an almost inevitable series of comic catastrophes that once again brings profound misfortune to the House of Pennyfeather. Still to this day laugh-out-loud funny, Decline and Fall was listed by the master John Mortimer as one of his ten favourite reads, calling it Waugh’s “first, most perfect novel.”Buy the book