A Handful of Dust Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Handful of Dust

The mild-mannered Tony Last lives in Hetton Abbey, a large English Victorian-Gothic house. His wife Brenda is bored by their quiet but unexciting life together in the country, and has discovered a more glitzy social life in London. He does not understand that their relationship is on the rocks, that they have grown apart and she is more in tune with contemporary life than he is. Behind his back, she has set herself up in a London flat where she spends more and more of her time being a party gal with the self-indulgent Belgravia set, and also having an affair with the idle John Beaver.
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Suddenly their son John is killed in a riding accident. Brenda tells her husband that she wants a divorce. Encouraged to get everything she can, she requests a settlement which will involve the sale of Hetton.

Not wanting to lose his house, he goes abroad on a quest to discover an apparently legendary city deep in the Amazon jungle. It almost ends in a fatal attack of tropical fever from which he is rescued by the eccentric Mr Todd, who holds him prisoner in the jungle and makes him read the novels of Dickens aloud.

The review of this Book prepared by John Van der Kiste

Chapter Analysis of A Handful of Dust

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Wife Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Exploring into the wild    -   Yes kind of story    -   struggle to get home

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   South Misc setting    -   fancy mansion

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Evelyn Waugh Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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