This is set in post-war California. Dennis, a British poet, has left a movie studio to work at the Happier Hunting Grounds pet cemetery. He meets and falls in love with a mortician at the much classier Whispering Glades, where they process human stiffs. Waugh lampoons the falseness of Californian sentiment from the way they paint corpses to the inscriptions on the fake church and the fake Scottish love seat in the Glades. Whispering Glades is a theme park dedicated to death.
But The Loved One is a brittle drawing room comedy poking light fun at the fake Californianisms. It is gentle humour. There seems to be no substance. One cannot believe in the reality of Dennis either when he falls in love with his mortician or when he loses her. It is all superficial and meaningless and so as fake as the cemeteries and as the movies that Waugh gently attacks.
Slightly humorous. November 2013; 127 pages
At least it was better than Black Mischief!
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57