There are some colossally funny moments in Auberon Waugh's novel about a young English chap named Arthur Friendship on the...

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WHO ARE THE VIOLETS NOW?

There are some colossally funny moments in Auberon Waugh's novel about a young English chap named Arthur Friendship on the verge of rationality, even though some of those moments may be too ""black"" for just any reader. Friendship is a writer who works under an assortment of ecclesiastical, medical and feminine noms de plume for Woman's Dream magazine, striving amid pets, porcelain and postpartum for a minimum of intellectual fulfillment. It never happens though he does come close with a series: ""Cancer in our Times."" He allies himself with the World Peace Movement. Alas, the leader turns out to be a raving mad ex-Nazi, playing East against West in an attempt to precipitate the final holocaust and thereby rid the world of decadence and ""coloreds"": ""A lifeless planet spinning aimlessly in a cloud of radioactive dust around the sun... Imagine the peace!"" Friendship comes close to heroism when he bounds valiantly into a burning boarding house to save an eight year old girl; he comes out, unfortunately, with a bundle of laundry and a face which is permanently disfigured. Add a Black Moslem preaching racial Armageddon, a host of phonies, hypocrites, turncoats, nymphomaniacs, frustrated ""any-case"" people, and you have the bulk of Mr. Auberon's satire. It's somewhat disjointed and the narrative is more a set-up for concepts, lines, characterizations, and other inspired madness than anything else. In tenor, therefore, Who Are the Violets Now? becomes a sort of literary What's New Pussycat?

Pub Date: May 12, 1966

ISBN: 0755105559

Page Count: -

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1966