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Extended Audio Sample Black Mischief Audiobook, by Evelyn Waugh Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,136 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Evelyn Waugh Narrator: Michael Maloney Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2012 ISBN: 9781619693876
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“We are Progress and the New Age. Nothing can stand in our way.”

When Oxford-educated Emperor Seth succeeds to the throne of the African state of Azania, he has a tough job on his hands. His subjects are ill-informed and unruly, and corruption, double-dealing, and bloodshed are rife. However, with the aid of Minister of Modernization Basil Seal, Seth plans to introduce his people to the civilized ways of the west—but will it be as simple as that?

Profound hilarity ensues from the issuance of homemade currency, the staging of a “Birth Control Gala,” the rightful ruler’s demise at his own rather long and tiring coronation ceremonies, and a good deal more mischief.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Black Mischief is pure, early Waugh, funny in spots, mildly satirical, wildly absurd, corrupt, and erotic.”

    New York Times

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 2/19/2014

    " Totally ridiculous and totally hilarious -- the hapless Emperor Seth tries to modernize his Empire. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aeisele | 2/18/2014

    " Another great one from Mr. Waugh. Black Mischief is the story of the Empire of Azania, and the trials and travails of Seth the Emperor, Basil Seal his "modernization" minister, and the British Legation to the country. It's very funny, and also rather disturbing at points. Highly recommended. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Claire | 2/17/2014

    " CYNICAL!!!!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 2/11/2014

    " Gruesome. Scathing. But interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gary Smith | 1/23/2014

    " I'm glad to have read one of Waugh's earlier works, although I still prefer his later writing. He could do absurd better than most any writer, and I love how he lets the reader figure out a character is not being straightforward, although he does tend to be less subtle about it here in his early work, Waugh at his worst is better than writers at their best. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Twipnook | 1/18/2014

    " Very politically incorrect. Very funny, too (but not because it's politically incorrect). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynne | 1/8/2014

    " Evelyn Waugh pokes not so gentle fun yet again at English high society. In this book, the politics of a fictitious island off the north east coast of Africa are also at the mercy of his wit. Wickedly funny, as always, but in the end, a little too grisly for my liking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Caroline | 12/16/2013

    " Very fun. Each chapter from a different character's perspective, which was an uncommon strategy at the time. Interesting contrast between the occupiers and the indiginents. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Whit | 12/16/2013

    " I love this book--but feel that I shouldn't due to the title. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 12/2/2013

    " Great fun as Waugh pokes at the eccentricities of a backward African leader, who after getting a degree at Oxford, tries to push forward his country with zany pursuits. Dry English humour of the best kind. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matt | 11/10/2013

    " The best and funniest book I've ever read by a racist. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim Hainley | 10/25/2013

    " Hilarious, but not entirely unracist. Pity that I do almost all of my reading in public. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seth Holler | 9/24/2013

    " Laughed harder second time round. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David Smith | 7/25/2013

    " One of the two best books ever. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 5/25/2013

    " A final effort in Firbankery for Waugh and the results are not better than what came before or what comes after this in his oeuvre. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice Handley | 4/26/2013

    " Totally hilarious but kind of embarassing to read on the bus in Oakland. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Robin | 4/7/2013

    " Evelyn Waugh shines again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sophie | 2/15/2013

    " Black Mischief is a witty, often amusing satire, and a great social commentary, but on the whole aside from some moments of brilliance, makes for a fairly dull read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 2/12/2013

    " Three words: Birth Control Parade. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ElSeven | 1/15/2013

    " "Things were better in the time of Seth. It is no longer a gentleman's country." "

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About the Author
Author Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966) was born October 28, 1903 in London, England. After short periods as an art student and schoolmaster, he devoted himself to travel and to the writing of novels. His novels are unusually highly wrought and precisely written. Those written before 1939 may be described as satirical. During World War II his writing took a more serious and ambitious turn. Waugh also wrote travel books. 

About the Narrator

Michael Maloney is an actor who has appeared in numerous television productions, including as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Prince Hal in Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, for which he won Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor awards. His theater credits include Sleuth, Peer Gynt, and All My Sons, and his film credits include The Young Victoria and Notes on a Scandal. He has narrated numerous audiobooks, earning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards.