I strongly believe that this novel will be my lifetime partner and shall remain by my beside for all eternity.
It is 1943 and Charles Ryder, a single, homeless and loveless army officer finds himself unexpectedly billeted at Brideshead, a grand estate house which is now being utilised by the military during the war. But Brideshead isn’t unfamiliar to Charles. It was the home of Sebastian, whom Charles befriended at Oxford University in 1923, and Julia Flyte, Sebastian’s younger sister.The novel centralises around their powerful friendship and the Flyte family’s relationship with Roman Catholicism. Charles, the agnostic of the tale, watches his friend submit to alcohol, whilst he and Julia are plagued by their own marriages and emotions. Critics have attacked the ending of the novel as being distasteful (of course I shan’t be telling you why for that would ruin the experience for you), but I don’t find it subliminally afflicting to my character in the slightest. I perhaps don’t agree personally with it’s ending, but that doesn’t make me dislike the novel. That would be like one stating they didn’t like Wuthering Heights (please do advance to the next paragraph if you are unfamiliar with the ending of Wuthering Heights) because they are, personally, anti-suicide, and they believe therefore through Heathcliffe’s actions, Brontë is essentially condoning its implementation. We all know such an analysis is pathetic.I shall never judge a book by the author’s religious preferences and beliefs, its ending marks it as artistic, and you as the reader can ultimately conclude as to if you feel it is a tragic or beautiful ending. What I shall tell you is that it is poetic, be it a tragic poetic or blissful poetic, it is entirely down to your judegement. And that’s what makes this novel so wonderful.Despite its religious challenges the novel is not short of intellectual wit (which is mainly delivered by Charles’ father and the homosexual atheist Anthony Blanche), romance and heartbreak. It encompasses every element of what makes a novel a classic and friend, and it shall forever be mine ★★★★★