Evesham & District

Scoop - Evelyn Waugh

This book is satire against sensationalist journalism, published in 1938. It is also a tale of inefficiency. There are two characters called Boot: William, who writes nature notes for a daily newspaper, and John Courtney, a novelist. Because of mistaken identity, William is sent to Africa to report on a crisis, bungles it completely, yet is mistakenly given a “Scoop” award. Due to more mistakes, John Courtney gets the credit for it. William is greatly relieved and returns gratefully to rural life.

This reminded us of P G Wodehouse, for the constant bumbling and ridiculous situations. For some this was a favourable comparison as they enjoy Wodehouse, for others it was an irritating style. The characters are caricatures, but the book has depth. It shows that change has happened – the casual racism is upsetting to modern readers; but some things stay the same. We still have sensational headlines that sell papers, but how much is true?

Marks out of ten – range 6 to 8. Average 7, with one abstention because that person decided not to finish the book.

July 2021