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Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography chapter 1 Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography, meaning Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography, genre Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography, book cover Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography, flies Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography, Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography 353310c088ae1 Evelyn Waugh Uncharitably Once Characterized His Seven Year Old Eldest Son As Without Intellectual, Aesthetic, Or Spiritual Interest , None Of Which Holds True About This Long Awaited And Well Received AutobiographyA Self Confessed Product Of The Bourgeois Cultural Elite And Guerrilla Campaigner Against Both Sides In Britain S Class War, Waugh Is Now Comfortably Established As His Country S Best Loved Practitioner Of What He Calls The Vituperative Arts How He Achieved This Prominence Is An Unceasingly Entertaining Narrative His Difficult Relationship With His Father His Education First At A Public School With The Dickensian Name Of Downside And Then At Post Brideshead Oxford His National Service In The Army, During Which He Severely Wounded Himself With A Machine Gun And His Early Career As A Novelist And Then As A Fleet Street Journalist And Columnist For The Notorious, Libelous Private EyeWaugh S Matchless Intellect, Trenchant Irony, And Dry Wit Make Will This Do As Enjoyable And Outrageous An Autobiography As The Best Of His Father S Fiction


10 thoughts on “Will This Do?: The First Fifty Years of Auberon Waugh : An Autobiography

  1. says:

    I think if my father were Evelyn Waugh and I had literary inclinations, I would either a suppress them and become an accountant or something or b change my name various children of famous writers have done this, like Stephen King s son, if I recall so that I could rise or fall on my on my own merits Auberon Waugh, as it turns out, has very few merits as a novelist, and so trying to coast on his family name and failing even to succeed in that was his first mistake The snarky middlebrow comic novels he s churned out are so far from being half as good as, say, Scoop or A Handful of Dust that it is painful plus, he has the chutzpah to mock the snarky, middlebrow, and incidentally far better, books of his uncle, Alec Waugh And what I certainly never would have done, if I were Auberon Waugh, is written this precise memoir For fans of Waugh and when people say simply Waugh they always and always will mean Evelyn , this book is valuable in offering insights into his character and distinct lack of parenting skills Like the story of how the three bananas one per child allotted under post war rationing to the Waugh family the children had never seen a banana, let alone tasted one were served to Evelyn by his wife and consumed at a sitting by right in front of his children with visible relish That pretty much typified Waugh s attitude toward children, especially his own, and there are plenty of revealing and memorable anecdotes like this in the book However, once Waugh dies in 1966 Auberon writes that in his father s last years their relationship became cordial , things in this book go downhill Now we re stuck with the mediocre progeny as the main characters Auberon marries into a titled monied family and then drifts into being a book reviewer, book review editor, to all practical purposes failed comic novelist, and what he considers his greatest accomplishment the author of barbed, vicious humor pieces about public figures for The Spectator and, especially, Private Eye A lot of his writing is hilarious in its place I ve enjoyed it myself and his columns typically take half an hour to write, five minutes to read, with a belly laugh or two along the way, and then another five minutes to forget utterly Only the British have managed to make being a conservative reactionary bigoted son of a bitch somewhat endearing, and Waugh p re was a master of this His conservatism was charming because he was a comic figure, like Don Quixote, a swivel eyed loon when it came to adulation of the aristocracy a charge against his father which Auberon unconvincingly denies but ultimately harmless Waugh stayed holed up at his country manor and refused even to use the telephone, so when he opined that the Crown should take back India or whatever all ridiculous views he espoused you couldn t get mad about it because he wasn t really living in the real world Auberon, however, was and is a manic socialite and name dropper who is deeply engaged in politics, so as an Oxford graduate who is informed on all the issues, his unapologetically elitist Thatcherite views are often simply baffling, and ugly His writing is enjoyable only insofar as you don t think about his actual views too much he s tolerable when he s tearing other people down than when he s saying what his own ideals are Waugh Sr was unbearably elitist, but he never just angrily spat on the poor, as Auberon often does in print Plus, Auberon presents the last third of his book what in a successful person s memoir is usually the part with the gradually expanding reputation and the honors and accolades as a long catalogue of all the times he was sued for libel for his outrageous skewering of public figures Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, except that he seems often unaware how sad it all is compared to his father s accomplishments Evelyn Waugh fought on both fronts in World War II and knew Churchill personally, then wrote Brideshead Revisited, a masterpiece just brimming with some of the most perfect sentences ever written Auberon, by contrast, got out of the army by barely surviving shooting himself with a machine gun and then, as a middle aged man, barely escapes being fined by the race relations board for writing that a particular wine s bouquet tasted like a dead chrysanthemum laid on the grave of a stillborn West Indian baby That all pretty much sums up father and son Auberon seems determined to vindicate his father s preemptive disappointment in him as a son and as a writer and as a person Make no mistake, the title of this book, whether Auberon realizes it or not, is addressed to the ghost of his father, and I can just hear the old man saying, No, my boy No, it will not.


  2. says:

    An honest and sometimes stark memoir of one of Britain s best satirists and humorists His reputation with some as a literary monster did not match his general personal demeanour and his writings remain a delight whether from Way of the World or the unmatched surrealism of his Private Eye Diaries Along with Peter Cook he is missed by me at least as someone who made life explicable.


  3. says:

    I read this nearly twenty years ago The parts that linger in my mind to this day are his adventures in Cyprus Beyond that the details have become murky But I remember smiling at Waugh s acerbic humor and finding his unapologetic snobbery than a little refreshing An article in an English paper once described him as an overdog I d call him honest.


  4. says:

    Lacks his father s discipline in prose and development of material, but still entertaining.


  5. says:

    I ended up enjoying this than I thought I would It s the autobiography of Auberon Waugh, son of the famed author Evelyn Waugh who of course wrote Brideshead Revisted Early on Bron Waugh sets the tone of a snarky, emotionally conflicted child of a literary dynasty Alec Waugh and Arthur Waugh were his uncle and grandfather He leads out with rather nasty quotes by his father calling him and his siblings intellectually and spiritually incurious, boring, and undeserving of his time and attention As these things tend to go within families, out of context and with a deceased father unable to defend himself it s tough to decipher fact from feelings Obviously, though, Bron Waugh was left with a lot of feelings about his upbringing and his distant emotional relationship with both parents.The first half or so of the book discusses Bron s upbringing as a child of World War II, his Oxford education, and a stint in the military from which he was discharged after injury while serving in Cyprus The latter half traces a middling career as a writer of novels, but so as a journalist and columnist for a variety of British publications Bron never quite lives up to the successes of his father, but he seems to fare well nonetheless hobnobbing with the who s who of English journalists including Tina Brown A lot of ink is devoted to his multitudinous libel scandals, which seems par for the course for the London rag mag industry.What I enjoyed the most was the sense of glimpsing post War life in England The tweedy, alcohol and tobacco craving, British telly comedy producing with otherworldly film cameras , the naughty tabloid exposes on class struggles between the titled and the proletariat The Waughs had aspired to join the upper classes, but in the years following the world wars of the 20th Century England increasingly saw its class system collapsing This book also smelled of Cold War intrigue when powers were lining up from East to West into two camps capitalism and socialism communism Bron Waugh was involved in reporting on developments in Africa the Nigerian civil war , and spent several years living in Italy and France He became wine reporter for a publication at one point and traveled the world delving into the wonders of wine He worked during the Thatcher years and was a conservative during a time when liberalism was particularly rampant.Overall this was the memoirs of a rather cantankerous personality who derived from an interesting world of literary connections and legacy I don t know that Auberon Waugh is especially notable for much than that, but like I said earlier I found his life story to be an entertaining account.


  6. says:

    Three and a half stars


  7. says:

    Son of Evelyn, this writer at age 50 says a professional writer has only so many shots in his locker, and autobiography is one of them His unsentimental, but plainly affectionate, description of the famous family from which he sprang is a high point Because of the monstrous child and even worse adolescent Waugh recalls himself, in his own words , this might be especially interesting to parents of teens Sadly, Waugh did not live many years after this book s publication.


  8. says:

    Okay My review may be a BIT inflatedsince I had the privilege of being around Bron Waugh when I was an intern at his book review I think Kakutani in her NYT review said that this book is blissfully devoid of American style psychoanalyzingbut is still fascinating when it comes to his stories about his famous father Very English Very funny Maybe very funny since it is so English.


  9. says:

    Well worth reading for those intrigued by Evelyn Waugh a good take on growing up under the mantle of his heavy duty father and the history of his literary family in general also, if one has read a bunch on the Mitfords, add this to your list.


  10. says:

    He was a master of vituperation and a great soldier in the journalistic wars of late 20th century London He was not quite the snobbish shit his father, Evelyn, could be, but he was as funny and was almost as great a stylist He was an estimable character and this is an estimable book.


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