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Last Friends (Old Filth Trilogy 3) Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 6 Jun 2013
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140870367X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408703670
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 374,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jane Gardam has been awarded the Heywood Hill Literary Prize for a lifetime's contribution to the enjoyment of literature; has twice won a Whitbread Award and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

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Review

An ambitious and complex portrait of extraordinary times (Guardian)

What a lot Jane Gardam knows about love and its accommodations; the rich contradictory play of desire and loyalty; the sudden storms of feeling. And how elegantly and intelligently she writes about the instinctive, tendril-like gropings of one human heart towards another (Jane Shilling Daily Telegraph, Praise for Jane Gardam)

Book Description

The witty and sparkling new novel from Jane Gardam, bestselling author of Old Filth.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The last novel of an unforgettable trilogy, LAST FRIENDS follows, first, OLD FILTH, the story of Sir Edward Feathers, who Failed in London, Tried Hongkong; hence his nickname. A Raj orphan, Filth grew up in Malaya, went to school in England, became a judge, and then worked for the Empire as a member of the foreign service. The second novel, THE MAN IN THE WOODEN HAT, is the story of Filth's marriage to Betty, told from her point of view. Betty, who never really loved Filth, is reputed to have had an affair with Sir Terence Veneering, Filth's life-long rival in every aspect of life. Both of these novels are filled with wit, irony, and insights into people and relationships, especially those who serve the Empire overseas, and author Jane Gardam's ability to create scenes and unforgettable, often wry dialogue is almost unparalleled.

LAST FRIENDS, the third novel, is ostensibly the story of Sir Terence Veneering, a man of mysterious origins, Filth's rival and possibly Betty's lover. The novel opens as the villagers of St. Ague in Dorset, to which all three retired years ago, are preparing to travel to London for Old Filth's funeral, Betty and Veneering having passed on some time ago. The irrepressible Old Dulcie Williams, the village elder and widow of "Pastry Willy" Williams, a judge who was also in the foreign service, becomes the "voice" of the novel. Clearly dotty, and never shy, Dulcie provides the backstories of these characters, though she "sees" events which may or may not be real, has conversations with people who are long dead, and ignores anything (like the increasingly urgent communications from the bank) that might possibly complicate her life. She is joined in St.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, Jane, if you're reading this, I can't believe you've done it! I loved Old Filth and, after the Wooden Hat follow up, I didn't realise there was anything much left to say.

Me of little faith. I borrowed Last Friends from the library, but now shall have to buy it so I can foist it on friends who haven't been lucky enough to read it so far.

You found so many frayed ends to tie up and gave us new insight into Veneering in particular. And people who played only walk on parts in the first two books were fleshed out in this one, as well as new characters being introduced which added to the whole. I cried at one point and felt desolate at the end - as that really is The End.

One has to start with Old Filth to get the most out of Last Friends. These characters are never to be forgotten, by me, at any rate.

This novel is so funny, clever, poignant, insightful, quirky, and original, with lots of surprises.

Last Friends and Old Filth go into my Top 20 novels of All Time.

Thanks Jane
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Format: Paperback
Last Friends is the final volume in Jane Garam's trilogy based around the story of Sir Edward Feathers (“Old Filth” – Failed in London, Try Hong Kong), a successful lawyer and later a judge who spent much of his career as a property and construction lawyer in the Far East.

As the book opens we find that Old Filth and Terry Veneering are recently passed away. Ending their lives in a quiet Dorset village, only Dulcie, the widow of an old Hong Kong judge survives to remember the great men. Dulcie, herself ancient and frail, is about to go up to London with her daughter to attend Terry’s memorial service, a difficult challenge for her and one which is going to lead her on one more final adventure of her own.

The story moves back and forth through the years as it tells the story of Terry Venerring, brought up in a down-at-heel industrial town on the cold and windy North-east coast of England. His mother had a flourishing domestic coal business which she had developed herself, going round the streets of back to back terraced houses with an old wagon hitched to a cart-horse,

Terry’s father was a mysterious Russian, arrived off a boat and claimed by Florrie as her own, married in haste, but with no regrets, as soon as she fell pregnant with young Terry.

The story is of Terry’s climb from his inauspicious start, helped up along the way by benevolent adults who took an interest in him. If you glance at the cover above you will see Terry walking along the beach with the first of these, Peter Parable, an elderly solicitor, a deeply Christian man who asked Terry to help him gather sea-coal from the beach.

We see Terry launching himself into the legal profession as a young man.
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Format: Hardcover
I was so looking forward to this book, having heard Jane Gardam speak about it, and having enjoyed the first two of the trilogy very much indeed. With the constant jumping about to Dulcie and Fiscal Smith I found it didn't add much to Veneering's story - not even about his wicked night with Betty. Am I perhaps the only person who found it rather contrived? The first two books provided a wonderful jigsaw, and it must be tempting to go on adding bits to the central picture, but I was really disappointed in how little substance there was in it.
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