As a student at Oxford, Charles Ryder is captivated by the decadent, aristocratic Sebastian Flyte, who invites him to spend time at his family home—the magnificent Brideshead. He becomes infatuated with its eccentric inhabitants, especially Sebastian's sister, Julia, but things begin to unravel when Charles notices cracks in the family's carefully tended veneer: its secrets, its oppressive Catholicism, Sebastian's increasing reliance on alcohol. This remarkable examination of dysfunction and devotion remains one of the great novels of the 20th century.
A departure from Evelyn Waugh's normally comic theater, Brideshead Revisited concerns the tale of Charles Ryder, a captain in the British Army in post-World War I England. Unlike Waugh's previous narrators, Ryder is an intelligent man, looking back on much of his life from his current post in Oxford. He strikes a special friendship with Lord Sebastian Flyte as the setting moves to the Brideshead estate and a baroque castle that recalls England's prior standing in the world. Ryder falls for Flyte's sister while families, politics and religions collide. What makes the book extraordinary is Waugh's sharp, vivid style and his use of dialect and minor characters. This is one of Waugh's finest accomplishments and a superb book.
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