Clark Collis
May 18, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Fathers and Sons

Current Status
In Season
Biography, Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

English eccentrics abound in Fathers and Sons — a look at the writer-heavy Waugh family. Alexander Waugh begins with his sadistic great-great-grandfather, a doctor referred to by his descendants as ”the Brute,” who was given to firing a shotgun inches away from the ears of son Arthur to fortify the boy’s character. Arthur himself had an unhealthily obsessive relationship with his heir, the sex-crazed Alec, while Alec’s brother Evelyn — author of Brideshead Revisited — once dismissed his two oldest children as ”a great bore.” It is a description that could not be applied to the hugely entertaining tales of literature and lunacy featured here.

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