Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From the Road to Brideshead

I finished "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. The book took me a while to get into, but by the time I had finished, I felt the journey worthwhile. I must admit that I felt a little bit ambivalent about the "hero" of the story, Dean Moriaty. He has a number of fatal flaws, the most prominent of these being his womanising tendencies. But at the time he is certainly not a malicious character, doesn't hold grudges and is warm toward all those he comes into contact with. Still, it is his irresponsibly that ends up alienating him from those around him and ultimately causes his downfall. What I found fascinating was the fact that I felt tremendously sorry for him, even though what happened to him seemed to be poetic justice.

Having finished "On the Road", I've now started "Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh. So far I've read the prologue and the first chapter and the novel offers a lot of promise. One thing I am interested in is whether the novel is meant to be semi-autobiographical. I know that Evelyn Waugh was received into the Catholic Church in his late twenties and the book is about the protagonist's attraction to an aristocratic and eccentric Roman Catholic family. Perhaps I shall have to research that later, but it might be a good idea to read the book on its merits for the time being.

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