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After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last has grown bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set.
In a novel that combines tragedy, comedy, and savage irony, Evelyn Waugh indelibly captures the irresponsible mood of the "crazy and sterile generation" between the wars.
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Scenes from a marriage
The sad and bitter tale of a man who, like Job, has everything he cares about taken away from him. Tony Last is the English squire through and through but his very name sounds the doom of his dynasty. Waugh uses his own experience as a cuckold to show the inexorable triumph of the new, commercial England over the older, subtler ways of life rooted in the great country houses and their estates. Andrew Sachs renders an already restrained tale with just the right amount of buttoned-up tension, making the most of the rare moments of black humour. Tony's grieving scenes after his great tragedy pierce the heart with their hopeless irony, as we know full well his wife will not care a jot. Waugh has few greater moments than this.
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