Short summary - The Loved One - Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

British literature summaries -

Short summary - The Loved One
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

On one unbearably hot evening, Sir Ambrose Ebercrombie arrives at Francis Hinzley’s Hollywood house and catches the owner, screenwriter of Megapolitan Pictures, along with his young friend and poet, Denis Barlow, over a glass of whiskey. All three are British, and the British, according to Sir Ebercomby, here in America should stick together and not fall below a certain level, that is, not agree to work that does not correspond to their position in the local society. Denis, who recently ended a contract with one of the film studios, joined the funeral parlor for animals under the name "The Land of a Better World", which all British Hollywood was seen as a shameful step.


Sir Francis has not been doing very well lately. Soon he learns that his term in the studio has come to an end: he was fired. With despair, he commits suicide. Denis, who lives with Sir Francis, having come home one day, finds him hanged, and he has to deal with the burial procedure. For the sake of this goal, he goes to «The Rusting Dol», a solid funeral company with countless staff, a huge memorial park and where an atmosphere of peace and decency reigns. With purely professional interest, Denis takes this opportunity, under the guidance of a morgue guide, to view the company building, with which his own office is in some sense competing, and to get acquainted with all the services provided to the dead, or «Unforgettable», as they are called here, when moving to another world. There he sees a young cosmetic bag, Eme Tanatogenos, who impressed him and assures Denis that thanks to the skillful hands and talent of Mr. Joyboy, the head of the embalming, his friend’s appearance will be more than worthy. A little later, Denis accidentally meets with Eme in the memorial park, where he came to compose an ode to the deceased, ordered him for a funeral. Denis is a poet, and even in England during the war he published a book of poems, which was a resounding success.

Young people begin to meet, and after a month and a half, their business comes to engagement. Mr. Joyboy, who is the embodiment of the most advanced professional manners and enjoys romantic success among the girls working in the "Rusting Valley", is also not indifferent to Ema. He never told her openly about his sympathy, but expresses his feelings through the dead. They always come to Ema from his hands with a blissfully childish smile on their lips, which makes the rest of the beauticians jealous. One day he informs her that she is likely to be promoted and transferred to the work of an embalmer. On this occasion, Mr. Joyboy invites Aime to dinner at his home, where he lives with his «mother» and her old shabby parrot. Reception does not seem to Ema too welcoming, and she takes the first opportunity to escape from there.

After Mr. Joyboy finds out about Ema’s betrothal, all the dead who fall into her hands acquire a tragicly sorrowful expression. Knowing that the girl’s bridegroom writes poetry to her daily, Mr. Joyboy, with her permission, shows them to one writer and finds out that they all belong to the pen of classical English poets, as reported by Ema. In addition, a parrot soon dies in Mr. Joyboy’s mother. Arriving at "The Land of a Better World", he meets Denis, who hid from Aimee his place of work and assured that he is preparing to become a priest of the Free Church. He did this because his office was several orders of magnitude lower than The Rustling Valley, and Emé repeatedly spoke of it with disdain.


Faced with deception, Aimee decides to break up with Denis and set a date for the wedding with Mr. Joyboy. Aime regularly writes about all of her experiences and difficulties in her personal life to the editorial office of one of the newspapers, a popular spiritual mentor who has a daily heading entitled «The Wisdom of Guru Brahmin» in the newspaper. Guru Brahmin is two men who answer letters from correspondents. One of them, Mr. Junk, answers them not in the newspaper strip, but in personal correspondence. Soon after Denise finds out about Ema’s new engagement, he meets the girl and convinces her that she has no right to violate the oath given to him before. His words, unexpectedly for Denis himself, make a strong impression on the girl. Arriving home, she urgently on the phone searches for Mr. Junk, who was fired on the same day due to drunkenness, and asks him to help with advice. Mr. Trash, himself not in the best mood, advises Ema, who has already managed to bother him with her letters, to jump from the roof. On the same evening, she unsuccessfully tries to call Mr. Joyboy, who calls her «darling-children», but cannot come, because his «mother» has a holiday - she bought a new parrot. Ema leaves the house at night, goes to The Rustling Dol, and there, completely unwilling to take revenge on Mr. Joyboy, accidentally finds himself on his desk and makes himself an injection of potassium cyanide. because his «mom» has a holiday - she bought a new parrot. Ema leaves the house at night, goes to The Rustling Dol, and there, completely unwilling to take revenge on Mr. Joyboy, accidentally finds himself on his desk and makes himself an injection of potassium cyanide. because his «mom» has a holiday - she bought a new parrot. Ema leaves the house at night, goes to The Rustling Dol, and there, completely unwilling to take revenge on Mr. Joyboy, accidentally finds himself on his desk and makes himself an injection of potassium cyanide.

Having arrived at work in the morning, Mr. Joyboy discovers the corpse of his bride on his desk and hides him in the refrigerator so that no one will know about him. He goes to Denis and asks him for help. Denis proposes to cremate Ema in "The Land of a Better World", and explain the disappearance of the girl, who also has no parents, by the fact that she ran away with her ex-fiancé to Europe.

Upon learning that Denise was about to open his own funeral agency, Sir Ambrose, came to him and persuaded him to return to England as soon as possible so as not to dishonor his compatriots. He even provides him with money for the journey. Dennis gets some more money from Mr. Joyboy. Nothing holds him in America anymore, where so many people, even more worthy than him, have crashed and died.