by Evelyn Waugh

I hereby pronounce Evelyn Waugh the world's most mutable writer. I have read three novels of his—two of which are on this list thus far—and they are nothing alike!? I suppose I find this admirable. Most authors have a distinct enough style from which they do not stray. But not Evelyn Waugh! Scoop is as different a book from Brideshead Revisited as you'll find. One would never dream they were written by the same person. At a most basic level, the former is comedic; the latter dramatic. The writing in both books is incisive, so what you really end up with here in Scoop is satire. Scathing satire; painful at times.

Scoop is a craftily constructed tale of a case of mistaken identity. Waugh gets the reader engaged in one character's life, and then turns the whole narrative on its ear by refocusing on the real main character. This is an effective technique, because it's not just the characters in the book who have confused the two men, the author and reader have as well!

Because he has the same last name as a well known & successful author, a maturationally retarded country dweller gets mistakenly sent as foreign correspondent to an African nation on the brink of war...and wacky hijinks ensue! Waugh's writing is, as always, exceptional. The best parts, I think, are reserved for the scenes at the crumbling country manse, where family and servants alike are in a state of literal and figurative stagnation. Provides a nice juxtaposition for the equally ridiculous passages satirizing Fleet Street.

As for Classic Bitch, I prefer incisive drama. So of the Evelyn Waugh books thus far, Brideshead Revisited ranks higher on my list than Scoop. Scoop is funny, but I can't help wondering how it made it on the list of 100 best.