well, this was my first waugh, and he came highly recommended by mr. p.g. wodehouse, so my expectations were high. despite the fact that there is an author's note saying you don't need to have read his previous novel "decline and fall" before reading this one, though they share similar characters, i had trouble keeping all of the characters straight, especially since they quite often acted in very similar ways. lord metroland and lord monomark were especially hard to distinguish, and surely that's partly the point and yet, i just find it tiresome. ultimately the narrative is strung together by a bunch of monotonous parties and more parties, which the "bright young people" recognize as such, and then father rothschild, lord metroland? and the former prime minister or perhaps the present one gather together at one, conspiring (about what it was never made plain) and end up talking about the young people these days and what exactly is the matter with them, or at least i think what waugh thought was wrong with them, and then people die for silly reasons, and then there is stark contrast for an ending, which i liked.. bottom line, too many characters and too much flip-flopping to hold my interest. i will give him another shot but this was not enthralling to me.