the observer Sat 25 October 2008
It is curious that a novel about a group of deeply awful people should still fascinate. These Oxford wastrels - Sebastian Flyte, his ridiculous teddy bear and his effete hangers-on - are truly distasteful, yet the story enmeshes the listener. With the disintegration of the 'sinful' friendship between Sebastian and Charles, the destructive Catholicism in which the family is steeped leads inevitably to Sebastian's alcoholism. Elegantly structured, the story gradually forms a parable about the passing of an era. Jeremy Northam's narration brilliantly creates Waugh's self-parodying dialogue, but also allows the listener to feel the damage done to the outsider, Charles.