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I guess I will have to give Helena another look.

That's a lovely chapel. Just looking at the picture, I can hear the quiet.


Helena is one of my favourite novels.

I knew you would have something to say about this.


It's one of the rare novels of which I can say that I enjoyed every word of it. It's very short, and maybe that wouldn't be true if it were a lot longer.

Alas, I can't truly hear the quiet in that chapel, thanks to my tinnitis. But there is definitely an absence of other sound.

Yeah. Those of us with tinnitis will never be able to lead the quiet life.

I love Helena. I have taught it many times

I want to meet her.

I'm sure you and Robert would get more out of the theological and historical references than I did. I probably missed a lot.

My sympathies, Robert. I don't find mine too hard to live with, but in a quiet place I really start noticing it.

Helena sounds great! I’m determined to read it now.

I'd be surprised if you don't like it. If I didn't have such a long list of books I want to read I'd read it again immediately.

That's a great recommendation!

I was looking at a preview of Helena at Google Books and saw that Waugh dedicated it to Penelope Betjeman, the wife of John Betjeman. Based on my reading of various bit and pieces on the Web, it seems Waugh used her as a model for Helena and that she converted to Roman Catholicism, much to the dismay of Betjeman, at least somewhat due to Waugh's influence. Oh, and she and Waugh may have been lovers at some point. Your daily dose of gossip. :)

I noticed the dedication, naturally, being a Betjeman fan. I do hope that's not true about her & Waugh being lovers. But if it's true that she was the model for Helena I don't blame him for falling for her.


I think it’s pretty clear from Waugh’s letters that at one time they had a sexual relationship.

Maybe so. I haven't read them, but several things that I found last night searching for her suggested that the affair might have been mostly in his head.

Hope you get over the undoubtedly miserable infection quickly.

I must say that this certainly looks like young Helena. As I imagined her, anyway.


I read Helena a few years ago, but I don't recall liking it as much as you. I think I missed some of the humour. (That bit about the gibbon, for instance, completely passed me by.) I should read it again.

Incidentally, when Everyman's Library issued a set of Waugh's books a few years back, they included all the novels *except* Helena. It doesn't seem right.

It ain't right at all. Some copyright problem, maybe?--giving them the benefit of the doubt.

May e he was just being ribald

Very plausible. Though men and women being as they are he would have an impulse to brag and she would probably want to hide it.

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