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Publisher's Summary

After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last has grown bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set.

In a novel that combines tragedy, comedy, and savage irony, Evelyn Waugh indelibly captures the irresponsible mood of the "crazy and sterile generation" between the wars.

©1934 Evelyn Waugh (P)2015 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about A Handful of Dust

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  • Julian
  • 21-12-2017

Scenes from a marriage

The sad and bitter tale of a man who, like Job, has everything he cares about taken away from him. Tony Last is the English squire through and through but his very name sounds the doom of his dynasty. Waugh uses his own experience as a cuckold to show the inexorable triumph of the new, commercial England over the older, subtler ways of life rooted in the great country houses and their estates. Andrew Sachs renders an already restrained tale with just the right amount of buttoned-up tension, making the most of the rare moments of black humour. Tony's grieving scenes after his great tragedy pierce the heart with their hopeless irony, as we know full well his wife will not care a jot. Waugh has few greater moments than this.

3 people found this helpful

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  • S. Barnes
  • 03-03-2017

Shatteringly brilliant.

What did you like most about A Handful of Dust?

The way the story takes you by surprise. What seems like another lively and witty portrait of the Bright Young Things turns into something bleak and grave.

What did you like best about this story?

The writing is quite beautiful. Waugh at his best, in my opinion.

What about Andrew Sachs’s performance did you like?

Andrew Sachs' performance is absolutely outstanding. The depth (and where needed - airiness) and nuance he gives each character, his timing and his reading of the text is both enlightening and moving.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Be careful what you wish for!

Any additional comments?

My favourite audibook so far!

6 people found this helpful

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  • arirulz
  • 12-09-2019

A brilliant narration of a gripping book.

Andrew Sachs did a great job reading this English classic. Beautifully written sparse prose that said so much.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Fitz
  • 07-11-2017

Superb

Waugh's lacerating tragi-comedy of 30's society and a genteel marriage falling apart is brilliantly read by Andrew Sachs.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 19-10-2021

Astonishing, Surprising and Superbly Read

I have been happily chewing my way through Waugh and when coming to this novel felt it tugging at my emotions more than any previous Waugh-read/listen. It has greater gravitas than I expected, despite the wit and edge that Waugh frequently deploys. Tony and Brenda Last will live in my memory for a very long time. I can admit to being shocked more than once in the novel's events. It does not matter what inspired this novel; it stands as a great achievement in its own right. I will be interested to see how I see this novel after reading 'Brideshead'. The understanding performance by Andrew Sachs is flawless. He clearly has the measure of this novel and is sensitive to so many things which he is able to shape and convey to the listener. The intelligence of Sachs makes this a very special listen and shades other Waugh performances that might be fluid and characterful but miss essence. Do take the time to experience this novel and this performance in particular.

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  • Meg
  • 04-07-2021

A disturbing tead about unlikeable people

Rather disturbing and tragic .almost gave up half way before pace quickened after first tragedy.

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  • Paul D
  • 10-04-2019

A good listen

My first experience of the author and a pleasant surprise. Despite being filled with despicable characters or another time and social class there was enough to make it a page turner, if only in the hope that they would reap their deserts. Certainly well construct and written to make the story and characters believable. I found the first half of the book much better than the second and until halfway considered this a very rare 5 star listen. I felt that the second half lost its way and really didn't flow from the first part, with a very dissatisfying conclusion.

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  • RobS
  • 24-09-2018

Rather dated but an interesting ending

Most of the book is a lightly scathing look at upper class bourgeois society between the wars. The best bit is later on though when Tony is ill and starts hallucinating, that's very funny!

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  • Susan Whitehead
  • 01-06-2017

A Handful of Dust

Brilliantly read by Andrew Sachs, he reads so clearly and with feeling. Interesting story with a twist at the end

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