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The Loved One: 08/18/09
The Loved One is the first novel by Evelyn Waugh I've had the pleasure of reading. I've had it for quite some time, attracted to it for the Edward Gorey cover art on the 1965 edition.
The book reminds me most of Six Feet Under without quite so much of the family dysfunction. The story starts with a young poet going to Hollywood to live with his uncle who works at a film studio. When the studio cans the uncle he commits suicide, leaving the bewildered and bereaved nephew to plan a funeral.
The remainder of this short, dark comedy is focused on the funeral home at Whispering Glades, a huge cemetery clearly inspired by Forest Lawn. A romance (based on false pretenses) develops between the nephew and a young beautician who works at Whispering Glades.
The book looks at the some of the more absurd rituals of death for both people and their pets, the excesses people will go for remembering their loved ones and the stresses of working under tight deadlines.
The Loved One is funny and tragic many times through. I'm glad I read it. I have now also read A Handful of Dust, also by Evelyn Waugh (review coming).
Comment #1: Tuesday, August, 18, 2009 at 20:38:15
This looks really good! I'm very intrigued and am off to see if my library has it. Waugh is on my gotta-read-someday list. Thanks, C
Comment #2: Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 10:40:02
Although the copy I read was from BookCrossing, I did see that my library has a copy of The Loved One. Hopefully yours will too. Netflix also has the film adapatation if you want to see it.