Monday, August 10, 2009


My latest foray into the satirical genius of Evelyn Waugh is Scoop, which is regarded by many to be one of his best. I didn't find it to be as hilarious as Black Mischief, but it is definitely an enjoyable read.

Based in part on Waugh's experiences covering Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia, Scoop explores sensational journalism and foreign correspondence. The story begins with John Boot, a rather lazy novelist who pursues a high-paying, low-work job in a foreign country in order to escape from an amorous American girl. Through the good words of his connections (including Waugh's favorite society matron Lady Metroland), Boot lands a position with the aptly-named newspaper The Beast, which will send him to the fictional African nation of Ishmaelia to cover its brewing civil war. Through several miscommunications, bumpkin William Boot is hired in his place, and he instead is forced to leave the comfort of home (where he writes a biweekly nature column) to join the cadre of journalists newly stationed in Jacksonburg, the capital city of Ishmaelia.

In typical Waugh fashion, hilarity and misadventures ensue. The ultimate question is whether the journalists are covering the news, or if they're really creating it based on their collective need to report back to their media outlets, whether or not anything is actually happening. My favorite joke involves the journalists all trekking to the Ishmaelian outpost of Laku, but I won't ruin it for you here.

Suffice it to say, this is another Waugh triumph. If you've not yet tried his books, I highly recommend you get started!

Up next: Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight series. (Did I mention I'm also getting into the HBO series True Blood? I think I might have a vampire problem.)

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