"Byrne has written a marvellous book, warm, witty, and enormously readable. She shows intelligently that as the Lygons had an enormous effect on Waugh, so the Flytes do on Charles Ryder ... It’s a mad world, my masters, and this book is a calm pool of sanity among the tumult of massed humanity."
Philip Womack, Daily Telegraph
"Mad World is full of fascinating anecdotes, many of which will be new, even to the most fanatical amasser of Wavian trivia. Paula Byrne has produced a strong and romantic book that is at once a touching story of deep friendships, an astute piece of literary criticism and an important contribution to the canon of Waugh biography."
Alexander Waugh, The Literary Review
"Byrne’s gift as a writer is her ability to combine scholarship with turbo-driven narrative power. Mad World is vibrant, absorbing, stranger than fiction."
Frances Wilson, The Sunday Times
"Explores the people and the story that inspired the book, and does so with acuity and panache ... Byrne shows remarkable perception in her interpretation not only of Waugh's relationship with the Lygons, but of theirs with each other."
Selina Hastings, The Observer
"She has dug deep, and tells the tale with great verve and considerable insight."
Anne Chisholm, Sunday Telegraph
"Riveting, readable and occasionally shocking … Even for the casual reader - and those who may not yet have encountered Waugh’s novels - Byrne’s thoroughly researched biography has the fizz of Waugh’s best fiction and will have readers returning to the books for further pleasure."
Sunday Business Post (Dublin)