e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

‘Scoop’ by Evelyn Waugh

I’ve just finished reading this 1938 novel. I’ve not read much of Waugh’s work and I don’t think this book will change that.

Up to now, the only one of his novels I could remember having read was The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. As a study of what it’s like to suffer hallucinations I had found it brilliant, and I felt it really deepened my understanding.

So it was with high expectations that I picked up Scoop.

The prose style flows well and the story is short and light, but I found it hard to get into.

I think this is largely because the satire on journalism and the newspaper business, although still relevant, seems now so obvious that the author’s points are not worth making. Post-hacking I’m too cynical to see any revelations in it.

Setting up a central character who falls into situations rather than acting on them, was also, I think, a mistake. I found it difficult to be really concerned about his fate.

I’ve no doubt that what Waugh had to say was true then and is probably even truer now – but my main reaction is ‘so what’.


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