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Cold Comfort Farm (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Stella Gibbons , Lynne Truss
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

26 Oct 2006 Penguin Classics

A witty portrait of rural England in the early twentieth century, the Penguin Classics edition of Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm is introduced by Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. At the aptly-named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doomed Starkadders: cousin Judith, heaving with remorse for unspoken wickedness; Amos, preaching fire and damnation; their sons, lustful Seth and despairing Reuben; child of nature Elfine; and crazed old Aunt Ada Doom, who has kept to her bedroom for the last twenty years. But Flora loves nothing better than to organise other people. Armed with common sense and a strong will, she resolves to take each of the family in hand. A hilarious and ruthless parody of rural melodramas and purple prose, Cold Comfort Farm is one of the best-loved comic novels of all time.

This new Penguin Classics edition includes an introduction by Lynne Truss discussing Stella Gibbons's unconventional life and career and her joyously satirical voice.

Stella Gibbons (1932-89) novelist, poet and short-story writer, was educated at North London Collegiate School and studied journalism at University College, London. She then worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard and published several books of poetry and short stories.

If you enjoyed Cold Comfort Farm you might like George and Weedon Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Brilliant ... very probably the funniest book ever written'

Julie Burchill, Sunday Times

'Literary bliss'

Guardian


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Cold Comfort Farm (Penguin Classics) + Cold Comfort Farm [DVD] + Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (26 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856132749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856132749
  • ASIN: 0141441593
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

? Quite simply one of the funniest satirical novels of the last century.?
?Nancy Pearl, NPR's "Morning Edition"

? Delicious . . . "Cold Comfort Farm" has the sunniness of a P. G. Wodehouse and the comic aplomb of Evelyn Waugh's "Scoop".?
?"The Independent" (London)

About the Author

Stella Dorothea Gibbons, novelist, poet and short-story writer, was born in London in 1902. Her first novel Cold Comfort Farm (1932) won the Femina Vie Heuruse Prize for 1933. Amongst her other novels are Miss Linsey and Pa (1936), Nightingale Wood (1938), Westwood (1946), Conference at Cold Comfort Farm (1959) and Beside the Pearly Water (1954). Stella Gibbons died in 1989.

Lynne Truss is a writer and journalist. She is the author of the number one bestseller, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which has sold more than two million copies, won the national British Book Award, and was on the New York Times bestseller list or forty-five weeks. She lives in Brighton, England.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The education bestowed on Flora Poste by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged; and when they died within a few weeks of one another during the annual epidemic of the influenza or Spanish Plague which occurred in her twentieth year, she was discovered to possess every art and grace save that of earning her own living. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
A story of the sweetest sort that is only occasionally serious about its subjects and managed to give me a few belly-laughs as well enjoyable smiles at its distinct and clever wit. What Flora has in oodles is common sense. When her parents die and leave her with a hundred pounds a year she decides to write to all her relatives and ask if they want to take her on as a paying guest. Nobody does, but she does receive a letter from the Sussex Starkadders whose initial return is a letter which seems to admit she is owed something and has some rights to be supported, followed by a postcard with dour verses from the bible enscribed thereon.

Flora investigates and it turns out she has an enormously difficult job on her hands to civilise her cousins, but that's nothing to the job she has to humanise Aunt Ada Doom who once saw something nasty in the woodshed.

This is a fun read, light though seldom frothy, as it should be. The Introduction by Lynne Truss picks out some splendidly typical passages, my own favourite being:

"The long screams of the hunting owls tore across the night, scarlet lines on black. In the pauses, every ten minutes, they mated. It seemed chaotic, but it was more methodically arranged than you might think."

The mixture is wonderful, a dash of romanticism, a hint of passionate chaos and a smart aphorism to bring it all together. The style is wonderful throughout, but the story itself has a bit of a dying fall. Neverthless, this is a modern classic, enjoyable, deft, agreeably eccentric and an achingly funny satire on the rural passion novel, such as those that would like to be but are not quite in the D H Lawrence class.

Nb. I do not know what the three reviewers on the first page of these Amazon reviews are talking about.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun on the Farm! 26 April 2005
By Mrs. D. J. Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Cold Comfort Farm is a genuinely funny modern classic. Orphaned at 20 and with only 100 a year, Flora Poste kindly offers herself out to a collection of relatives and thus finds herself at Cold Comfort Farm - and there have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm! What follows is Flora's attempt to 'civilize' the inhabitants of the farm and organise their lives in a series of entertaining events. If Flora admires Jane Austen, there is certainly a touch of Emma Woodhouse about Flora! The ending is absolutely classic, and although we never find out what Ada Doom saw in the woodshed that was so nasty, or the wrong done to Robert Poste, Flora's father, or indeed if the goat survived, perhaps the imagination is best served by these remaining bizarre mysteries! The book and its varied inhabitants will stay with you long after you have finished reading it!
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOMETHING NASTY HAPPENED IN THE WOODSHED... 19 Jan 2003
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Published in 1932, this novel is a hysterically funny, tongue in cheek parody of the heavy handed, gloomy novels of some early twentieth century English writers who had previously been so popular. Tremendously successful when first published, "Cold Comfort Farm" caused quite a stir in its time.
The novel starts out innocuously enough, when well-educated Flora Poste finds herself orphaned at the age of twenty. Discovering that her father was not the wealthy man she believed him to be, she is resigned to the fate of having to live on a hundred pounds a year. Opting to live with relatives, rather than earn her bread, she seeks out a most unlikely set of relations, the odd Starkadder family who live in Howling, Sussex.
Therein begins what is certainly one of the funniest novels ever written. When Flora arrives in Howling, she meets her odd relatives, who live in neglected, ramshackle "Cold Comfort Farm", where they still wash the dishes with twigs, and have cows named Graceless, Pointless, Feckless, and Aimless. Headed by a seventy nine year old matriarch, Flora's aunt, Ada Doom Starkadder, who has not been right in the head since she "saw something nasty happen in the woodshed" nearly seventy years ago, they are a motley and strange crew indeed. Confronted with their dismal and gloomy existence, Flora sets about trying to put things to right.
Peppered with eccentric, memorable characters, this book will take the reader on a journey not easily forgotten. It is one that is sure to make the reader revisit this novel yet again, like an old friend who is missed too soon.
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Was this review helpful to you?
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOMETHING NASTY HAPPENED IN THE WOODSHED... 31 Dec 2002
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Published in 1932, this novel is a hysterically funny, tongue in cheek parody of the heavy handed, gloomy novels of some early twentieth century English writers who had previously been so popular. Tremendously successful when first published, "Cold Comfort Farm" caused quite a stir in its time.
The novel starts out innocuosly enough, when well educated Flora Poste finds herself orphaned at the age of twenty. Discovering that her father was not the wealthy man she believed him to be, she is resigned to the fate of having to live on a hundred pounds a year. Opting to live with relatives, rather than earn her bread, she seeks out a most unlikely set of relations, the odd Starkadder family who live in Howling, Sussex.
Therein begins what is certainly one of the funniest novels ever written. When Flora arrives in Howling, she meets her odd relatives, who live in neglected, ramshackle "Cold Comfort Farm", where they still wash the dishes with twigs, and have cows named Graceless, Pointless, Feckless, and Aimless. Headed by a seventy nine year old matriarch, Flora's aunt, Ada Doom Starkadder, who has not been right in the head since she "saw something nasty happen in the woodshed" nearly seventy years ago, they are a motley and strange crew indeed. Confronted with their dismal and gloomy existence, Flora sets about trying to put things to right.
Peppered with eccentric, memorable characters, this book will take the reader on a journey not easily forgotten. It is one that is sure to make the reader revisit this novel yet again, like an old friend who is missed too soon.
Comment | 
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars oh joy. oh rapture.o bliss
Should have read this years ago . Its so funny. Please try it. It doesn't need seven more words or any more words at all.
Published 2 hours ago by Evelyn gannaway
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and comforting
A classic of English humour. I defy anybody not to feel better for having read it.
Published 3 days ago by Neil
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
An excellent ironical /satirical book written well before the age of satire. Its a gripping story-which is very well written. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Mrs GF Mortimer
5.0 out of 5 stars love this and always have
This is another of those books that I've always loved and still read occasionally and each time I read it there is some more enjoyment to be had. Read more
Published 1 month ago by toni
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommend it!!
Light hearted and funny, a perfect summer read and I look forward to reading it again, some whacky characters in this book!
Published 1 month ago by Ella Jakobson
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
Such a funny book! Took a while to warm to the humour, but once I got into it I found hysterically funny. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs Melanie J Tavenner
5.0 out of 5 stars Firm favourite and a timeless classic
Never tire of the wit and strength of this work. The characters come alive and there are so many laugh out loud moments.
Published 1 month ago by Ms. D. A. E. Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest book I can remember reading for a long time....
I decided to buy this book after hearing a Radio 4 review and recommendation. Wow...am I glad I did!

Stella Gibbons knows how to carry humor through an entire novel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dave S
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay if nothing else to read
Had read this book a long time ago and recalled it was quite funny. Not a book to read a second time. I got rather impatient with the main character.
Published 2 months ago by Marysk2010
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Read this as it was a friend's choice for our next book club read. I hope everybody didn't like it as much as I did or there will not be much discussion!. Very funny easy read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Angela Johns
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