This audiobook tells the story of the Balliol family as they exist through the suffrage movement and the end of the Edwardian era to the Great War. The Balliol children are subject to the effects of the war - the harsh discipline and the subsequent laxness, the breakup of family loyalties, the post-war cynicism and, in the youngest child, the ultimate trend back to a sounder pattern of life.
"Epic saga beautifully told"
If you enjoyed the powerful atmosphere of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby you may just have an inkling of the smoothly professional efficacy of Alec Waugh's The Fatal Gift. His novel breathes the values and attitudes of the early decades of the 20th century. Raymond Peronne has wealth, is bright, is devastatingly attractive to women: his fatal gift. Second son of a baronet, Perronne goes to Oxford (from which he is rusticated), then to New York (in the '20s and '30s) and is in Egypt during the war (moving in circles then, as in this novel, inhabited by such as Evelyn Waugh, Claud Cockburn and Robin Maugham).
"Neglected older brother"
Alec Waugh set this novel in Tangier where he had been an intermittent resident for 20 years. Married to a Spy is not, however, ‘another Tangier novel’. It is a dramatic story of fast-moving action and suspense based on the assumption that the Basque liberationists decide to launch a series of guerrilla attacks against southern Spain, using Morocco as their base. The British secret service sends to Tangier, to keep an eye on things, an Englishman in his middle 30s who is married to an American 10 years younger than himself. He is bringing into danger not only himself but her, and one of his main problems is that he cannot take her fully into his confidence.
Based on the author's own experience as an officer in the British Intelligence and packed with the most closely observed detail of the people, places and costumes of the Levant, The Mule on the Minaret is a long, colourful, fascinating story of wartime intelligence centred on Beirut and Baghdad. It is the story, primarily, of Noel Reid, a professor of History and Philosophy, (married, but not very happily) who is posted in 1941 to the Intelligence unit operating in the Lebanon.
"Orient, war, spies, love and extraordinary reader"
To the casual visitor Santa Marta is a sub-tropical paradise, a small sister of Jamaica, Bermuda and Nassau, unmentioned in the colour-splashed brochures of travel agents: an island where the sun shines throughout the year on the sandy beaches of innumerable coves, on the cane-fields and coconut plantations, on the shingled hits of the peasant villages and the fine houses of the white planters handed down through generation after generation, from the Sugar Barons of a past century.
Author, publisher, traveller, cricketer, lover of wine: Alec Waugh was all these in the course of a life which brought him a host of friends around the world. He was a warm person who knew a good friend when he saw one and was revered by all those with whom there had been mutual acceptance. This audiobook contains his memories of many famous writers and some figures no longer so well remembered in the period between the wars. The section which will, no doubt, command the most attention is that devoted to the youth of his younger brother, Evelyn.
This discursive and absorbing travel-book offers, as the author says in his new Foreword, ‘a picture of a way of living that exists no longer.’ Hot Countries tells of a series of journeys in the Far East, the West Indies and the South Sea Islands when he was a young and light-hearted novelist seeking colour, romance and adventure.
A chance meeting in a cafe, a piece of grit delicately removed by a gentleman from a lady's eye, and the affair is born. A brief yet unrelenting emotional tug-of-war between two people whose spontaneous desire clashes head-on with the 'facts' of their existence. There is Anna, married to Graham and happily content with her home life and two children. There is Alec, trapped in a loveless marriage to cool, uninvolved Melanie, looking to his work as a doctor for fulfilment.
This semi-autobiographical work tells the story of Gordon Caruthers' schooldays at the English public school, Fenhurst. From his confusion and isolation, through rebellious school escapades and relationships with fellow students, Alec Waugh reveals his own deep criticism of a system forcing pupils to conform to flawed ideals, and the inevitable consequences of thrusting thirteen year old children and eighteen year old adolescents together.
What Columbus started in 1492 was finished in 1898, when the red and gold flag was lowered at Havana to mark the end of four centuries of Spanish dominance in the Caribbean. For two and a half centuries after the Pope divided the world between Spain and Portugal, the navies of Britain, France, Spain, and occasionally the Netherlands fought in the Caribbean. Most of the islands changed hands at least once. Europe discovered the delights of coffee, tea and cocoa; sugar boomed; fortunes were made and lost; the slave trade flourished. But after the Napoleonic Wars prosperity receded, the conscience of the world awoke and slavery was abolished.
Having married a man several years older than herself, Mary Montague craves love and attention to relieve the monotony of her days. Her husband, Gerald Montague, whose ill-running health is ruining his life, has little time to spare for his young wife. In Mary's lonely eyes, Barclaye Ashe is the most romantic thing happening. He fulfills Mary's need for love and it isn't long before Mary, in spite of herself, returns his love and embarks on idyllic days and balmy nights.
"A pleasure to listen to a well-performed classic"
An imaginary island on the Equator has suddenly achieved importance through the discovery of oil - what will happen to the men and women living under the tensions of life on this island? At one end of this island is the oil refinery where the members of the staff live in constant proximity to one another, and where emotions are heightened by the lack of privacy. The men are goaded by ambitions for power, while the women are drawn into affairs of love and passion. At the other end of the island is a hotbed of politics where a British diplomat is attempting to retain the island under Britain's sphere of influence.
Alec Waugh first saw the West Indies on a trip round the world, in 1926, when his ship called in at Guadeloupe. Fifteen months later he returned for a long stay at Martinique; it was the beginning of a lifelong interest in these fascinating islands that were to provide him with the material for many books and articles. In The Sugar Islands, a book to be dipped into at leisure, Mr. Waugh has selected pieces from his writings, with the intention of compiling both a travelogue (there is a wealth of interesting information for the would-be traveller) and a chronological commentary on the development of the islands during the last 30 years.
This is not the only one of Alec Waugh's novels in which he has described the agonies of a couple who are desperately in love but cannot marry, for it is a situation that he has himself lived through. But it is in this novel that he has drawn most specifically upon experiences he has only alluded to in other books. His protagonist is Gordon Carruthers, who was also the hero of The Loom of Youth, that then-shocking and revelatory novel of public-school life. Now transformed into a globe-trotting writer, Carruthers falls in love with a beautiful American socialite, and eventually, while her husband is away, they begin an affair.
First published in 1926, this story explores love in these days, days past, and what is likely to come.
A rich tale centred around the lives of Marjorie Fairfield, a beautiful and penniless young woman who is the mistress of a wealthy business man; and the symbolically named Ransom Heritage, one of the many young men who were cast adrift after the First World War ended and who has been abruptly deprived of a sense of purpose, ambition, and hope. Around these young people and their circle whirls the carefree society of fashionable postwar London - a raucous, glamorous, and perhaps slightly shrill world of cocktails and nightclubs, tea dances and illicit tête-à-têtes. Waugh depicts a frenetic society where all too many people are "kept" in some way.
One of the Bright Young Things in that brilliant and stimulating era between the wars, Alec Waugh remembers 1931 as being a year of firsts. It was the year he attended his first garden party, the year he made his first transatlantic phone call, the year he became a member of the MCC. But it was also a year that marked the end of one epoch and the beginning of another, far less frivolous. Nostalgic for the best of that time, Alec Waugh recalls the writers he knew and met here and in America - Somerset Maugham, A. J. Cronin, John O'Hara, Thurber, and Dorothy Parker.
Alec Waugh describes his novel as an erotic comedy. It is the story of a respectable Treasury official, Victor Trail, and his wife Myra, whose marriage has lost its flavour, owing to Victor's clock-work schedule and Myra's bland acceptance of it. The unexpected revelation that Victor has suspiciously altered his routine rouses Myra out of her complacency, and her jealousy rapidly changes the shape of their lives. It leads her into a series of quite extraordinary adventures and demimonde activities
Events that take place in an obscure oil-surveyor's camp in the French West Indies act as the link and the catalyst for three desperate groups of people thousands of miles apart - in London, New York, and the picturesque old quarter of New Orleans. Upon often trivial acts depend matters of life and love and death, and as always Alec Waugh has distilled the drama and the truth from a wide spectrum of characters and situations. The fascination of this novel is that it is, in effect, a game of global consequences.
Nor Many Waters first appeared in 1928. This novel is typical Alec Waugh in its charm and grace, and its shrewd perception of human emotions and profound exploration of human relationships.