Posts Tagged ‘Catholic fiction’

11:03 am

Brideshead Revisited

I made the mistake a couple of months ago of watching the new film version of Brideshead Revisited. It was perfectly dreadful. Now I have to admit that it was very lush and beautifully (and expensively) filmed, and the performances weren’t bad.

But the story! It was as though they were filming not the book, but a Cliff’s Notes version of the book written by someone who hadn’t actually read the book and didn’t understand what it was about. If it hadn’t pretended to be Brideshead Revisited, I probably wouldn’t have hated it as much as I did. I still wouldn’t have liked it: the story didn’t hang together well.

The only good thing to come out of watching that dreadful movie was that it prompted me to go back and read the book, since the movie had left me all confused about what was and wasn’t in the book.

The book was, I found, even better than I had remembered. When I read it the first time, I was in my early 20s, like the protaganists at the start of the book; now I’m older than they are at the end. The first time, I was mainly entranced by the romance and luxury; this time, I noticed more the melancholy and even pain. I hadn’t been sensitive to how very Catholic it was that first time either; I think perhaps I just took Catholicism for granted. (I frequently have trouble even now discerning what others describe as "Catholic" themes, since they just seem so very ordinary to me.)

It’s an amazingly graceful book (and I use "graceful" in both senses of the word).

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