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A Handful of Dust Audiobook

A Handful of Dust

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Publisher's Summary

Evelyn Waugh's 1934 novel is a bitingly funny vision of aristocratic decadence in England between the wars. It tells the story of Tony Last, who, to the irritation of his wife, is inordinately obsessed with his Victorian Gothic country house and life. When Lady Brenda Last embarks on an affair with the worthless John Beaver out of boredom with her husband, she sets in motion a sequence of tragicomic disasters that reveal Waugh at his most scathing.

The action is set in the brittle social world recognizable from Decline and Fall and Vile Bodies, darkened and deepened by Waugh's own experience of sexual betrayal. As Tony is driven by the urbane savagery of this world to seek solace in the wilds of the Brazilian jungle, A Handful of Dust demonstrates the incomparably brilliant and wicked wit of one of the 20th century's most accomplished novelists.

©1962 Evelyn Waugh (P)2012 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (100 )
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4.2 (91 )
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4.4 (88 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-16-15
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 05-16-15 Member Since 2016

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow Start then Subtle"

    This book takes quite a bit of time to get going, but finally becomes worth the slog. The first 1/3 of the book is very English aristocrat society with a bunch of setup and with classically stilted and mostly uninteresting characters. Then the cucumber sandwiches hit the fan and the story suddenly becomes an unexpectedly human story.

    Many (if not most) readers may not appreciate this book. It starts unbelievably slowly, then becomes a subtly dark, subtly satirical, subtly futile, subtly sad story. Notice there is a lot of subtly in there.

    This is not an overtly funny book, but I laughed out loud a number of times, but these were dark, almost guilt inducing, laughs (the “why did I laugh at that, that’s not funny” kind of laugh). The humor is highly contextual, elusive, and mixed with futility and disillusionment.

    I ended up liking this book quite a bit, but it is not something I would read again soon. The narration is really completely OK but not outstanding in any way and some of the voices are too characterized for my taste.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fog 03-17-15
    Fog 03-17-15

    Don't like bad narrators ruining good writing. To be fair, liking someone's voice is subjective but good narration has sensitivity, nuance, power and a rich understanding of the text. Minor pet peeve: narrators who've not researched foreign pronunciation or elevated English. Lazy!

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    "Worth getting thru the first chapter..."

    This book was such a surprise. I had read Waugh as a teenager but missed this one. It's very funny, at times shockingly anachronistic but wry and tragi-comic. Where it ends is a million miles from where it starts. Begin the journey!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer massachusetts 10-27-16
    Amazon Customer massachusetts 10-27-16

    bill

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    "unexpected ending"

    great writing. subtle humor wonderful descriptions. ending left me shocked. totally unexpected. great food for thought

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Bohnert San Francisco CA 10-22-16
    E. Bohnert San Francisco CA 10-22-16 Member Since 2015

    Ted

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    "A beautiful novel."

    Evelyn Waugh is a wonderful English writer. Please read his works and enjoy! You won't be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew L. Gespass Pittsburgh, PA 03-13-16
    Andrew L. Gespass Pittsburgh, PA 03-13-16 Member Since 2010

    agespass

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    "Very funny and very sad at the same time"

    Wonderful,nuanced narration. Just the right understatement.

    The guileless Tony is lost from day one though that only becomes clear as circumstances change.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gwen McRae Los Angeles, CA 90232 01-26-16
    Gwen McRae Los Angeles, CA 90232 01-26-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Delightful tale of infidelity"
    What made the experience of listening to A Handful of Dust the most enjoyable?

    It was very amusing and kept me engaged the whole way through. When it was over I wanted more!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I liked the paramore, he was different than typical lovers and I liked that this wasn't a cookie cutter novel about high society.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Loved this book. Surprised me a few times!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ceelouise 10-15-15
    ceelouise 10-15-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Hurrah for Waugh and Mitford"
    What other book might you compare A Handful of Dust to and why?

    What would my summers be without the intelligent froth provided by Waugh and Nancy Mitford? Waugh is deeper, of course, but I love both. This is a very good satire. Wow, Waugh is damningly critical of British society.


    What about Andrew Sachs’s performance did you like?

    Is this the same man who read Waugh's Decline and Fall? He does a very good job.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reina 08-13-15
    Reina 08-13-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Great story and super performance"

    Andrew Sachs brilliant reader: I would listening to anything he would read. The story is great too, in this case, a double bonus!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Spokane, WA, United States 06-01-13
    Daniel Spokane, WA, United States 06-01-13

    Avid Listener

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    "Saterical treatment of human decadence"

    Tony and Brenda Last, well endowed with legacy, are the best of cultivated English aristocracy. That is until Brenda's inexplicable affair with the annoying and feckless John Beaver, fostered by the same suave aristocratic society, immolates the marriage. Tony, abashed by the hypocritical divorce proceeding, decided to take a life changing Amazon exploration where he received more than he bargained for. Handful of Dust is layered with comical cynicism, while its core lay bare the face of human decadence.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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