THE EARLY YEARS OF ALEC WAUGH by Alec Waugh

THE EARLY YEARS OF ALEC WAUGH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A memoir in which the noted novelist Alec Waugh- chipper, full of charm and rather like as he himself says ""a restless, perchless traveller""- resails through the first 32 years of an autobiographical odyssey extending from the Edwardian calm of childhood to the end of the clever, cutting-up twenties. The author's style suits the sensibility behind it, for it's a very active, unaffected, if at times raffishly dramatic, life young Alec always seems to be leading, whether striding through studies at Fernden, or scamping around the playing fields of Sherborne as a footballer and cricketer, or serving in the Passchendaele hell-hole during WWI, or hitting the literary front pages while still in his teens with a prep school shocker called The Loom of Youth. Of course, as with any life, there are the dark spots; the blackest, and yet the most beautiful, was a gruelling fast-and-loose romance with an American lovely, the end product of a round-the-world Suez to Tahiti jaunt. It is vividly, verdantly described, like something out of Maugham. Then too he's frank about the Stendhalian fiasco of his first marriage: never consummated it seems. As for far more famous younger brother Evelyn, the disclosures are thin but telling; ""Evelyn and I have never been very close.... I should doubt if we have met twenty times in the last twenty years"". The clue to the author's character comes about midway in the book: ""I have sometimes wondered whether I am not too much in love with life, to have ever been completely in love with anyone"". Quite likely. But it's just that joie de vivre which makes The Early Years so rewarding a chronicle.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1963
Publisher: rrar, Straus & Co.