Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Book 42

When I saw that Jeremy Irons did the audio reading, I snapped it up from the library.  I’d listen to that guy read the phone book.  And I must say that he did the voice of an old man on his death bed so well that it was creepy.

So.   Charles Ryder, meets Sebastian Flyte, second son of a Marquess, their first year at Oxford.  Soon they are inseparable and Ryder spends a whole lot of time with the crazy Flyte family.  Sebastian’s drinking habit spirals out of control, everyone is angry with Charles about it and he leaves.  Close first act.

Years go by, marriages, children..when Charles meets up with the sister, Julia, on a trans-atlantic ship.  Begin affair.  Will they divorce their spouses and end up together?

While most of the story is set between the two World Wars (clearly Downton Abbey borrows a great deal from here), this felt to me like it was less about the decline and fall of the British aristocracy and more about life in and outside the Catholic faith.  Very compelling.

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