A Handful of Dust
by Evelyn Waugh
In A Handful of Dust Waugh satirizes the British landed gentry and mercantile class. The novel is set in the 1930s, and focuses on the breakdown of the marriage of Tony and Brenda Last. The aristocratic Tony is preoccupied with the maintenance of his family home, Hetton Abbey, an example of unfashionable Victorian Gothic architecture.
John Beaver, a self-interested and impoverished social climber, invites himself to Hetton for the weekend, and soon after begins an affair with Brenda, who yearns for urban excitement.