Woodiss Waits

Biography and True Stories


WOODISS WAITS: Part Two of the trilogy AND WOODISS GETS AWAY WITH IT. Woodiss speaks directly to you, as if he’s standing beside you. He’s the narrator of a real-life farce. In his world, nothing should be taken seriously, every situation is a joke. The story of his life becomes a comic novel.
In Part One, Woodiss described how, as a young man, a World War One hero, driven by circumstance to work as a gamekeeper, he was seduced by his boss’s wife. The publicity that surrounded the lady’s divorce made Woodis notorious. He was reviled by the press, abused by the lady’s family. Some novelists, he believed, took him as their model and depicted him as a primitive creature of immense sexual potency, and that thereafter, all women he met saw him in this light. Late in life, ‘to put the record straight,’ he claims, he wrote his memoir. By then he could view the long-past events with irony and humour, although hints of the savagery which he’d felt appear from time to time. WOODISS WAITS describes his life during the first years of World War Two.
Recalled to The Colours as a Territorial Army officer, he was injured within a few months and, to his dismay, discharged by the army. At a loss what to do, he decides to mark time and wait for the war to end. By chance he takes a job at an institution run by an extreme religious sect. He soon realizes that the members of the sect are trying to recruit him to their faith. Later, however, it emerges that some of them have another, less worthy purpose in mind.
In PART THREE they achieve their aim. The effects are disastrous and provide a dramatic end to Woodiss’s story. Woodiss presents himself as a hapless buffoon, exploited not just by the members of the sect but by the many women who prey on him. These range from a teenage housemaid who fancies a place in literary history, to an aging widow who believes Woodiss can persuade her son, a dissolute Glaswegian doctor, to enter the priesthood. Among the women who press themselves on him is Miriam, a beautiful young spiritualist, who claims she has been instructed by his late wife to provide him with comforts. These include ‘practices’ which, she tells him breathlessly, she has ‘heard of but never indulged in.’ Their prolonged and often farcical courtship forms a large part of the story of WOODISS WAITS. The tenderness that he starts to feel for Miriam does not spare her from his mockery, however. Like him, like everybody, first and foremost, she is a figure of fun, another participant in the farce.

Meet the Author

Henry Woodiss



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