Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family by Alexander Waugh - review by Selina Hastings

Selina Hastings

Strange Kinds of Love

Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family


Headline 472pp £20

It was the death of Auberon ('Bron') Waugh nearly three years ago that led his son Alexander to investigate the relationships between fathers and sons over five generations of his family. Alexander loved and admired his father, with whom he enjoyed an eccentric but far happier relationship than Bron did with Evelyn Waugh, or Evelyn with his father, Arthur, or indeed Arthur with his father, Alexander Waugh, ominously known as 'the Brute'. The result of these filial researches is a remarkable work of family history, exceptional for its honesty, intuitiveness, humour, and for the beguiling individuality of its author's voice.

Of the five generations, the fearsome Dr Alexander Waugh is first in line. He was a physician in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, a handsome, flamboyant man, capable of great charm and with a personal magnetism that made him popular among his patients. But at home he was a sadist and a

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