I feel like I have nothing to say about this book. Charles Ryder is a captian in the war and they show up unexpectedly at Brideshead and then ah yes, I remember when I first saw Brideshead and then we are back a few dozen years when he’s at college and is ‘friends’ with Brideshead’s second son Sebastian in a way where it is never mentioned but you SUSPECT they may be making out when your back is turned (and if I didn’t suspect if before, the ‘Triangle Classics: Illuminating the Gay and Lesbian Experience’ stamp on the back has tipped its hand). And that goes on for ~200 pages and literally nothing happens except that young Sebastian becomes an alcoholic, and that only really near the end and he always sort of drank a lot anyways, but you don’t really notice that nothing has happened until you sit down and try to write a plot summary.
And then in the second half of the novel Ryder falls for Sebastian’s sister and she falls for him and then they are into each other for another 100 pages even though they are both married to other people and then they aren’t (married to other people, or into each other), and it’s kind of not a big deal, and then he is Captain Charles Ryder in the war again.
But there’s loads of painful sexual awakening and emotional exploration and spiritual crises and I am just cribbing from the backofthebookblurb, but this is what happens. Sex is awakened, and emotions are explored, and spirits…damn. There is no way to make that into anything. But it is a rich and glorious reading experience with wicked amounts of subtext and now I have read it.