Books: Self-inflicted Satire

THE ORDEAL OF GILBERT PINFOLD (232 pp.)—Evelyn Waugh—Little, Brown ($3.75).

In the dozen novels that comprise his resounding theater, Evelyn Waugh has beaten the stylish stuffing out of a fantastic troupe of highly comic puppets. For his latest book, Waugh has retired momentarily to the wings to inflict upon himself the special punishment of the aging entertainer—a hard, self-appraising look in the dressing-room mirror.

The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold tells the story of a character admittedly like Waugh himself—fiftyish, a successful novelist, Tory, Roman Catholic, snobbish, a connoisseur of manners and wine, member of a first-class club and old boy of a second-class...

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