Brideshead Revisited- Evelyn Waugh (Review)

Publication Date: 1945

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The most nostalgic and reflective of Evelyn Waugh’s novels, Brideshead Revisited looks back to the golden age before the Second World War. It tells the story of Charles Ryder’s infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them.


I had to read this book for class and originally I looked at the length of it and groaned. I figured like all the other books I’ve been assigned to read I’d grow bored of it and would not finish it, yet again. I was delightfully surprised though. A disclaimer: this novel is very character based. If you’re looking for a novel that will make you stay up all night wondering who murdered who, this is not the book for you.

When I first read the back I was confused. It sounded as though Sebastian and Charles were going to be a couple but it never fully followed through. This was probably because it was strongly frowned upon during the 1940s. We will probably discuss this more during class.

I did want to see a bit more of Sebastian, he wasn’t in the majority of the book. Julia was talked about more, but yet she did not warrant a very large spot on the back like Sebastian was. I kept rooting for Sebastian to overcome his addiction and get better, live happily ever after, but the last we hear of him he is in the care of some friendly neighborhood monks. I guess that will be a question for another day. I was honestly more interested in that than the relationship drama, so book 2 in my copy slightly more boring. The reason I say in my copy is because my roommate has a different version and book 1 and book 2 are combined in it.

I really enjoyed the flow of the words, there was not too much description, but there was enough that I could picture the scenes in my head. Waugh made sure to keep moving forward with the plot and generally knew when to end a plot like. He did over dramatize some bits, which I can’t point out exactly just in case someone actually wanted to pick up this book.

My only really big complaint was that sometimes characters would talk for 3 paragraphs and I would forget it wasn’t Charles talking. Another was the beginning of each section took a couple pages to get reorientated as to where Charles was in time and who he was with and such. I feel this could have been made clearer.

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