Brideshead Abbreviated: The Digested Read of the Twentieth Century
John Crace, creator of the Guardian's 'Digested Read' column, hilariously summarises the great - and not so great - classics of modern literature.
John Crace's 'Digested Read' column in The Guardian has rightly acquired a cult following. Each week fans avidly devour his latest razor-sharp literary assassination, while authors turn tremblingly to the appropriate page of the review section, fearful that it may be their turn to be mercilessly sent up. Now he turns his critical eye on the classics of the last century, offering bite-sized pastiches of everything from Mrs Dalloway to Trainspotting via Lolita and The Great Gatsby. Those who have never quite got around to reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man will be delighted to find its essence distilled into a handful of paragraphs. Those who have never really enjoyed Lord of the Flies will be pleased to find it hilariously parodied in an easily swallowable 982 words. And those who find all such works a little highbrow will be relieved to discover, between the covers of this book, John Crace's take on the likes of Ian Fleming, P. G. Wodehouse and the Highway Code. Witty and sharp, this is essential reading both for those who genuinely love literature and for those who merely want to appear ridiculously well read.
"A swift kick up the backside to some of modern literature's most iconic works. Accurate, merciless and very, very funny." - Sarah Waters
"I've read all these books at least twice - and now I've read John Crace's digested versions I wonder why I bothered." - Will Self
"A genius and a madman. The meanest, funniest parodist alive." - Joanna Briscoe
"For the last 10 years [Crace's] Digested Reads have been reason enough to buy The Guardian. Taking a well-known novel, he gives a brief distillation of the plot while capturing - often perfectly - the tone of its author. At the same time, he jabs a sharpened elbow into their pomposities and limitations." - Spectator
John Crace is a Guardian staff feature writer and columnist, and author of the regular 'Digested Read' and 'Digested Classic' columns.