The Loved One

The Loved One

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All Books are second hand
Evelyn Waugh

Death has never been this delighted with such saccharine morbidity. Waugh's tragicomic The Loved One dips in little funny musings that don't always land then halfway through makes a 360-degree turn with its mishaps. Set in 1940s Hollywood, Los Angeles, it tells the story of British "poet" hired-then-fired film scriptwriter, duplicitous Mr. Barlow who took a job in the Happier Hunting Ground, a pet cemetery that offers unusual funeral services, thereby being an embarrassment to the Hollywood British enclave. Opposite the Happier Hunting Ground is the lavish and mawkish funeral service provider for humans called the Whispering Glades where Mr. Barlow encounters both its senior and awkward mortician Mr. Joyboy and the cosmetician Miss Thanatogenos after a life-changing event that concerns Barlow's flatmate Hollywood scriptwriter Hinsley. There is tacit rivalry between these two funeral businesses that they deride and insult each other for what they reductively do. One can't help but think of the real value of losing an animal versus a person which I personally think is, of course, subjective to a pet / human's impact on someone.