by Evelyn Waugh
Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs. Algernon Stitch, Lord Copper feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. So begins Scoop, Waugh's exuberant comedy of mistaken identity and brilliantly irreverent satire of the hectic pursuit of hot news.
(This was a shared read with Donald.)
Though of course I'd come across references to Waugh from time to time, I didn't know much about him, and I'd never read anything of his until this. We elected to read Scoop because I saw Waugh's name on an "if you like that, try this" list of authors-- and because I just happened to have picked up a copy in a library book sale, sometime.
That list of author suggestions I mentioned before indicated that Waugh would be good reading for fans of P.G. Wodehouse. I suppose I agree that fans of one of these authors might enjoy the other, but though Waugh feels somewhat more literary than Wodehouse, I never quite warmed to these characters, and the laughs weren't nearly so numerous as I've had from Wodehouse at his best.
This is definitely a "product of its time" novel, with language to match. Many modern readers will find aspects of the novel unpalatable. I hesitate to admit it, but there were also times when I felt that certain things were flying right over my head...
In short, I was not exactly captivated. I'd certainly give Waugh another try, but he's no Wodehouse-- and to be completely honest, I much prefer E.F. Benson's style to what I saw in Scoop, too. However, maybe some of his other works would be more to my taste. Brideshead Revisted, perhaps?