chapter  XVIII
Mr. Waugh’s Cities
Pages 12

The co-existence of truth and fantasy is most beautifully sustained in A Handful of Dust, surely Mr. Evelyn Waugh's best book, and one of the most distinguished novels of the century. The great houses of England become by an easy transition types of the Catholic City, and in this book the threatened City is Hetton; it will not prove to be a continuing city. Civility is the silent context of barbarism; truth of fantasy. And Hetton, within the limits of Tony's understanding, is an emblem of the true City. The saving of a soul may call for the ruin of a life; the saving of the City for its desecration. The desecration of the City as a mysterious means to its restoration was the vision Mr. Waugh attributed to Pius V. The fullest statement of this image of the City, powered by the historical intransigence that equates the English aristocratic with the Catholic tradition; and it is remarkable.