This novel was an unexpected delight. If I had to classify this novel I would say that it is a British-American novel. What I mean by this is that it has the feeling and mood of American novels, two of which came to mind while reading this: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott. Fitzgerald, and The Mysteries of Pittsbugh by Michael Chabon, while remaining true to its British setting and culture with the background of changing times.
Through our narrator, Charles Ryder, it is easy to see the relationship between The Great Gatsby narrated by the male character Nick Carraway, and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh narrated by the male character Art Bechstein. Ryder, Carraway and Bechstein are all charmed by other Male characters (Sebstian in Brideshead, Gatsby in Gatsby, and Arthur in Pittsbugh). Each of these novels is narrated through the eyes of male characters whose own life revolves around another protagonist. In other words, our narrator is the side character in his own life. Because of this, each novel has an air of sadness and tragedy.
Brideshead Revisisted was a fast-paced novel with the era of the 20’s written into the language and words, while the characters mirror a world that is changing. We have the base of tradition through the grand estate of Brideshead Castle, and the religion which holds captive each member of Sebastion’s family, juxtaposed with the new world, the war, and the beginning of women’s liberation.
If you enjoy reading about this era—pick up this novel, you won’t regret it!
Up Next: Moby Dick...for real this time!