I think that Hemingway made read discoveries about the use of language in his first novel, The Sun Also Rises. I admired the way he made drunk people talk.
— Evelyn Waugh
English author Evelyn Waugh published Scoop in 1938, and it’s one of the best examples of social satire in the modern era. Waugh was known for his sharp wit as well as his precise use of language. He was also known for his strong opinions, calling Faulkner’s writing “intolerably bad”, accusing James Joyce of being a “lunatic”, and claiming that Raymond Chandler’s writing was essentially about drinking shots of whiskey.
Waugh brought his biting wit to the social satire, Scoop. In it, a young London journalist, William boot, is sent to cover a civil war in the fictional African country of Ishmaelia, when his editors at The Daily Beast (from which Tina Brown got the name for her online news site) mistake him for another novelist with the same name. While his inept editor dines on canapés and drinks sherry back in London, Boot, a nature writer, gamely tries to cover the events unfolding on the ground in Ishmaelia. Through a series of fortunate strokes, Boot is able to get the big scoop. However, upon returning to London, the credit for the news goes to the other novelist, and Boot returns to obscurity.
Scoop demonstrates why Waugh is considered one of the greatest satirical writers of his generation.
One word for mastery: Consistency.