A Handful of Dust : Laced with cynicism and truth, A Handful of Dust satirizes a certain stratum of English life where all the characters have money, but lack practically every other credential. Murderously urbane, it depicts the breakup of a marriage in the London gentry, where the errant wife suffers from terminal boredom, and becomes enamored of a social parasite and professional luncheon-goer. The depravity of these characters is complete, accepted, and no longer shocking to themselves. But for Waugh, their refined savagery offers an opportunity to brandish his rapier wit, and to subtly "show you fear in a handful of dust." SC, 308 pages.