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Comfort and Joy [Hardcover]

India Knight
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.62 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

25 Nov 2010
This is the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of India Knight's darkly comic "Comfort and Joy". It is read with humour and sensitivity by Lucy Brown, the star of the hit show "Primeval". It's December 23rd and Clara Dunphy is running around Oxford Street like a blue-arsed fly trying to buy presents. She wants to make Christmas perfect: it's a lifelong ambition. And a challenging one at the best of times, even without taking her sixteen guests - sorry, "loved ones" - and their varying degrees of social dysfunction into account. Meanwhile, something weird has happened to her marriage, and the ho, ho, ho is thin on the ground. Why does Christmas have such an emotional hold over us? Why does family stuff hit the peak of its madness on December the 25th? And is it okay to want more than you have, when what you have seems so enviable from the outside? A blackly funny, tender dissection of the meaning of love - family love, sibling love, children love - "Comfort and Joy" will make you laugh and cry.

Frequently Bought Together

Comfort and Joy + Mutton + My Life On a Plate
Price For All Three: 26.00

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  • Mutton 9.09
  • My Life On a Plate 6.29

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fig Tree; First Edition edition (25 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905490739
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905490738
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 268,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

India Knight is the author of three previous novels: My Life on a Plate, Don't You Want Me and Comfort and Joy. Her non-fiction books include The Shops, the bestselling diet book Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet, the accompanying bestselling cookbook Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet Cookbook and The Thrift Book. India is a columnist for the Sunday Times and lives in London with her three children.

Product Description


Fabulous. Laugh-out-loud funny, moving and as cuddly as Santa Claus, this is perfect for snuggling up with over the Christmas holidays (Cosmopolitan )

I loved Comfort and Joy, a hilarious, bawdy yet touching portrait of Christmas over three years (Jilly Cooper Guardian Books of the Year )

So kindly and funny and affectionate that you could probably warm your hands on it. Miraculously, this is a feel-good story that manages not to be saccharine. There are a great many good jokes here ... but concealed amid the fun, like silver coins in a Christmas pudding, is a serious theme. This is a book you could safely give to practically anyone. Snap up plenty of copies to hand around under the tree (Spectator ) will make you laugh, maybe make you cry and keep you reading past bedtime (Lauren Laverne Grazia )

A wickedly funny, painfully honest look at families, festivities and romantic love (Marie Claire )

Witty enough to make you laugh out loud, but there are moments of real emotion that keep the book from being too light (Psychologies )

Tender, tough, schmaltzy, witty and heart-warming all at once. Knight has a great comic touch - there are some wonderfully rude bits and a fantastic rant about the ridiculous expectations piled on 21st-century women to be perfect - and writes with a deceptive lightness. At the heart of this funny, affectionate novel is an acknowledgement that families, like love, come in odd shapes and sizes, and that both matter more than anything (Metro )

A superb ear for dialogue...wonderfully comic (Evening Standard )

Riotously high in laughs and glamour. I defy a festive grump not to be cheered by it (Independent Books of the Year )

Fast-paced and funny (Women & Home )

About the Author

India Knight is the author of two previous novels: My Life on a Plate and Don't You Want Me. Her non-fiction books include The Shops, the bestselling diet book Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet, the accompanying bestselling cookbook Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet Cookbook and The Thrift Book. India is a columnist for the Sunday Times and lives in London with her three children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a pity 6 Dec 2010
I've always loved India Knight's non-fiction writings - The Thrift Book (you end up spending more but never mind), The Shops, even the diet book where she never mentioned that she smoked, but never mind that either, her Sunday Times columns. But this book, which began well and promised much, quickly degenerated into a string of opinion-columns strung together. Thing is, I like reading her opinions so this was fine for me, for a while. Then I realized what different worlds we inhabit. I'm not talking about the amicable ex-husbands all coming for Christmas (don't they have commitments too? once again never mind) - that's all lovely - but the presentation of the creepily cold mother Kate as the norm and the warm and lovable mother-in-law Pat as the deviation was not so much offensive as baffling. And as for the two sisters, who seemed to be modelled on Jassy and Victoria in Love in a Cold Climate, I wouldn't give their silliness house room.

There are some lovely descriptions in the book. India Knight can certainly write. What a pity she can't find any interesting people to write about.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing 23 Dec 2010
By coco
I usually like India Knight's books and columns but this book was so disappointing, lazy writing with unbelievable characters and situations, the character of Pat was particularly unconvincing - along with the two step-sisters. So sorry I spent the money on this, I normally pass books on to friends and relatives but this one will be going straight to the charity shop - I wouldn't want to inflict it on them!
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lazy and self-congratulatory 28 Mar 2011
By Alex
I bought this book for two people for Christmas on the back of gushing press reviews and now I've read it I actually feel embarrassed to have inflicted this novel on them. It reads as though it was written over a weekend, and the snobbishness running throughout is quite breathtakingly ugly. Not to mention the tone of self-congratulation - look at me, I have a squillion children (none of whom ever seem to misbehave or do anything child-like) and several ex husbands, all of whom love me, aren't I fabulous? I felt as though I was reading a bad episode of Ab Fab but didn't laugh once.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing - and nasty 27 Dec 2010
By Lovborg
Like so many other reviewers, I have enjoyed many of India Knight's other novels and collections of writing, and so I was excited about this one, with the return of Clara (from "My Life on A Plate" - which is great fun) as the heroine. I am afraid that I was very disappointed: not only with the structure (which betrays Knight's journalist's origins too clearly, with a distinct sense of "copy" rather than "narrative"), but with the fact that the tone of the whole book is nasty and snobbish.
I've never had much sympathy for the idea that one must have likeable heroes in order to engage - where does that leave you with King Lear, Othello, Heathcliff or Emma? - but the Clara of this novel is so self-centred, so self-righteous, so dismissive of other people's feelings as she goes steam-rollering over them in the interest of instant gratification that she becomes a huge alienating force within the book, and the other elements just aren't strong enough to compensate.
I can't recommend it in any way: but do try "My Life on a Plate" for a bit of charming (and eventually, very moving) fun.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish it ... 3 Dec 2011
By Debs
I managed to read this about a quarter of the way through and had to give up. The book had a horrible, nasty "tone" to it and I just couldn't bring myself to carry on with it. Storyline shallow, difficult to engage with the characters. Would not recommend this one at all.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not great 3 Jan 2011
Sorry India, love everything else you've written but not keen on this. The sisters and Pat were totally unbelievable characters, and I did feel that the characterisation of Pat was almost offensively cliched. Seemed like it may have been rushed out for Christmas and really wasn't much there at all - certainly not much comfort or joy.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing! 23 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a pre Christmas read and wish I hadn't bothered. It is full of the most hideously boring, shallow, characters which India Knight tries to make trendy by adding the odd four letter swear words here and there. I never warmed to any of them and couldn't care less what happed to them. I only managed to read three quarters of this before giving up on it and I don't give up easily. I certainly shall not be looking for any more of her books. Still on a positive note I can donate this one to the book stall at the village's summer bring and buy sale and hope that someone I am not fond of buys it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A struggle to read! 1 Jan 2012
I like to read a light novel with a Christmas theme to get me in the mood for the festive season but this book totally failed to deliver. I have never read any other books by India Knight but am aware of her reputation and the cover of Comfort and Joy caught my eye so I bought it (having worked in PR and marketing I should have been a bit more astute)!

The book got off to a good start but then it was down hill all the way. I was baffled by the characters and by Clara in particular. Readers are obviously supposed to warm to her but it's pretty hard to like someone who ditches her husband for no clear reason - well, she has panic attacks in bed at night but what had husband number 2 done to cause that? What's the message here anyway? Is it that you don't need to work very hard at marriage because it's perfectly easy to leave your husband, find another willing man and carry on bringing up three children in the lap of luxury with barely a pause for breath?

So why did I carry on reading it? Well, I hate to waste good money and I kept hoping it would improve at the end.I suppose some people might enjoy the description of pure gluttony in the final Christmas in Morocco scene but I didn't; I found it obscene as well as unbelievable. While a bit of escapism could be a good thing in this time of economic gloom, this end section seemed more designed to rub people's noses in it.

I am actually sitting here feeling guilty at having hastily given this book to a charity shop just before Christmas because some other poor person is probably now saddled with it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I disliked this book enough for it to put me off India Knight's...
I didn't enjoy this book. I read it over Christmas and found it really depressing. So much of it is about shopping and ostentatious wealth, and people being pleased by how... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. B. Salter-Murison
3.0 out of 5 stars Novel by India Knight
Unfortunately I cannot recall for whom I purchased this book so cannot comment on it's suitability or if it was enjoyed or not.
Published 2 months ago by Recneps
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent festive read
Fed up of novels portraying Christmas as a happy time when everyone gets on and there is buckets of good will going around and you end up wondering where you went wrong? Read more
Published 4 months ago by E Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Xmas joy
The perfect pre-Christmas read. Sparkling and funny. The shopping, the fuss, the family dynamics all captured beautifully. I loved it.
Published 4 months ago by Showing up
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
As with all her books this was just as funny had me in stitches will be reading the next book
Published 7 months ago by Justine Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Graet festive read
Ordered as I like a Xmas book to make me feel festive. It did the trick, easy enough to read when tired and busy at this time of year but also ha d a feel good factor when you had... Read more
Published 10 months ago by busy mum
3.0 out of 5 stars Odd to say the least
This book started of okay but then seemed to go off on a tangent, I got confused as to which Christmas it was and who was with who, wouldn't recommend it.
Published 12 months ago by Elbrobeach
2.0 out of 5 stars Smug and unbelievable
What a disappointment for a Christmas read! No real plot, toilet humour, silly characters (though I didn't mind Kate or Sophie) and I felt the whole thing a bit pointless. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Skaty Katie
2.0 out of 5 stars Comfort and Joy ,by India Knight
Really disappointed with Comfort and Joy , not to be recommended. Was glad when I finished it and could move onto something a lot more interesting.
Published 14 months ago by J
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christmas read
Excellent book.
I love India Knight's style of writing and her turn of phrase.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a Christmas book that isn't the usual sickly... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Trixie
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