by Evelyn Waugh
Some stories feel almost untouchable to me, which isn’t to say nothing exists that can be considered better, and it isn’t to say nothing exists that is similar, but, even with similarities and even with stories that resonate on deeper, more visceral levels, nothing feels truly comparable. In the case of Brideshead Revisited, the two immediate comparisons that come to mind are The Picture of Dorian Gray in wit and The Great Gatsby in style, but each differs when you approach the heart of the story, and Brideshead really spoke to me when you got deep and dirty.
It can easily be said that Waugh knows how to pace a story, offering up a leisurely, but never tedious, pace to introduce characters, allowing their personalities to flourish in a way that makes me fonder of them the longer we spend together, only to make the world collapse on top of them in a most tragic fashion. And it really feels strange when you sit back and consider it: I can think of many stories that, arguably, have claim to greater tragedies, but I can’t think back to another that hit me quite as firmly. This, on its own, could make me appreciate Brideshead Revisited, but adding in the effective humour and the mature exploration of many broad themes––such as memory, love, loss, guilt, and corruption––make the novel truly great.
So, you know, read it.