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28/12 - I have heard that an artist is never completely happy with their work - despite that I was surprised by what Waugh said about his own book in the preface in this Penguin edition. He was quite dismissive of it, commenting that he would like to bring it up to date, but in order to do so he would have to change the story entirely (and then what's the point?). He said all this in 1959, I hate imagine what he would think of his work in relation to the world of today. He'd probably go about collecting all the editions of Brideshead Revisited and burning them. Although in saying that, the 'cult of the English country house' as he puts it, is in a huge revival thanks to shows like Downton Abbey and all those British 'renovate my crumbling mansion' shows that are so popular on tv right now.

1/1 - I understand what's going on on the surface of this book, but I'm not sure I'm getting any of the deeper themes. I mean, at the beginning of page 72 there's a paragraph detailing some of the activities Charles (our narrator) and Sebastian were filling their time with. Charles likes to remember Sebastian in these moments (rather than so far unmentioned future moments, I guess).I can't help but feel there are more, deeper meanings I'm supposed to be gleaning from some of these passages, but which are flying over my head. I think I'm enjoying the book as much as I would if the themes were as clear as water (rather than mud), but I guess I'll never know for sure.

3/1 - What's with Aloysius the teddy bear? Why isn't Sebastian being mercilessly teased by his fellow classmates? I highly doubt that even the upper class students of universities like Oxford would be able to contain their derision for another student who keeps a teddy bear by his side, and talks to it and sets a place for it at the table as if it's actually alive and capable of eating the food placed before it.

4/1 - Sebastian's desperation to get his hands on some alcohol, no matter what he has to do, or sell, reminds me of a family member's behaviour when he was an active addict. He took piles of DVDs and CDs down to cash converters just to get 20 bucks so that he could go back to his dealer for just a little more heroin. The Marchmain family's reaction to the news that Sebastian has agreed to go hunting reminds me of my family's behaviour whenever our relative made any mention of doing something other than scoring drugs, stuffing his face with lollies, or sleeping. We'd fall all over ourselves to accommodate him, anything to make him happy - cooking his favourite meals, inviting him to watch movies with us - as if any of that would cure him of his addiction and remove the family from the hell life becomes when you're living with an addict. Our addict is now in recovery with 2.5 years of sobriety, but every time he calls there's the terror that he's fallen back down the hole of addiction.

So, I understand what Sebastian's family are going through. I think the only way Sebastian's likely to stop drinking is through hospitalisation and a complete absence of alcohol anywhere in his vicinity. Allowing him one or two drinks at dinner, then expecting him to abstain all the rest of the day is never going to work. It needs to be stopped completely, even if that means that others in the house are cut off as well.

Sarah1984's rating:
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