Book Pick of the Week: A Handful of Dust, by Evelyn Waugh

That’s pronounced Eve-lyn, and it’s a man, a former WWII commando at that.

Waugh wrote very funny and charming books about English country life, among them the more renown Brideshead Revisited. But I remember A Handful of Dust much more vividly — it’s about aloof estate holder Tony Last’s doomed marriage to his adulterous wife Brenda. You read this book assuming it’s going to have a nice happy ending and then you get to the end and you’re in hell. You won’t see it coming.

The Modern Library named three of Waugh’s books to its 100 best English language novels of the 20th century list, including A Handful of Dust at number 34. Later the book was adapted into a film starring Kristin Scott Thomas, James Wilby, Judi Dench, Rupert Graves, Anjelica Huston and Sir Alec Guinness as the despicable Mr. Todd.

Photo: A Handful of Dust, published by Back Bay Books

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