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The People On Privilege Hill [Kindle Edition]

Jane Gardam
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £4.31 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

It is a wet day in Dorset, and walking to a luncheon party is Sir Edward Feathers QC, followed by two elderly friends: his scruffy neighbour and sparring partner, Veneering, and Fiscal-Smith, the meanest lawyer ever to make a fortune at the Bar. Fans of Jane Gardam's bestselling novel, OLD FILTH, will be delighted to encounter Filth, now almost ninety, making his immaculate way to Privilege Hill, named perhaps for the Prive-Lieges who arrived with the Normans, but more probably for the village privies.

Ranging from a Victorian mansion converted into a home for unmarried mothers to a wartime hospital in the middle of the Blitz, from ghost stories to brilliant observations of love and loneliness in their various manifestations - including, in 'Pangbourne', a woman who falls in love with a gorilla - to reflections on the haphazard nature of intellect and memories in 'The Last Reunion', the stories in this collection mix Jane Gardam's trademark sardonic wit with a delicate tenderness and a touch of the surreal.

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Product Description


'a gracious storyteller, ushering the reader deftly from impression to person, to dialogue, to place...' -- The Times Literary Supplement

'an exquisite turn of phrase, an assured grasp of character and perfectly judged emotional pitch.'
-- The Good Book Guide

`Gardam's touch is deft and light...she's such a good writer...This is Jane Gardam's 16th book of fiction: may it not be her last' -- The Spectator

`charming collection ... this pleasing volume of fiction is also likely to win the author many new admirers'
-- Sunday Times

`her new collection exemplifies Gardam's zest for human oddity, which she explores with characteristic empathy and humour.' -- Literary Review

`mischievous and touching'
-- Finacial Times

Book Description

Marvellous short stories from the author of Old Filth.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 681 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (17 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A7ZJR5C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #107,593 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, elegant, sad, funny and brilliant! 1 Dec. 2007
This is a lovely collection of short stories---they will stay in your mind long after you've read them. Such elegant, finely honed prose, so much humanity and wit, is rare in a world where cynical, sharp-edged fiction dominates---to the detriment of literature. (Who wants to read Will Self---well, certainly not me!) Admirers of Jane Gardam's masterpiece , 'Old Filth', will be delighted by the return of Sir Edward Feathers (and his old adversaries!) in the first story in this collection, (the wonderful image of the three old judges under three contrasting umbrellas is a delight) but there are so many more brilliant short stories to enjoy here:--'Babette', with its chief protagonist, the bath, 'The Latter Days of Mr Jones' (a powerful indictment of the witch hunts and 'procedures' sadly prevalent in present day Britain,) 'Pangbourne' and 'Flight Path' amongst others. Jane Gardam is a genius---don't miss this!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Memories, and in many cases, the memories of the aged, infuse this collection of fourteen stories, filled with surprises. Author Jane Gardam, two-time winner of the Whitbread Prize, creates ironies and absurdities for her readers, at the same time that she creates poignant and often moving scenes. Filled with wry humor and clever turns of phrase, this collection, like Gardam's novels, asks questions about whether we are the people we think we are, whether we are the people other people think we are, and whether we are the people we want to be. The secret lives and not so secret lives, the realities and the fantasies, and the faces we keep firmly fixed for the outside world--all become fertile soil for Gardam's exploration of her characters.

In many cases, Gardam's characters are lonely souls, coping the best way they can. The unnamed narrator of "Pangbourne" married a bounder but then dedicates her life to visiting a gorilla in the local zoo. Mr. Jones, in "The Latter Day of Mr. Jones," is "the last of his tribe, last of his kind," an old man whose dogs have died and whose life revolves around sitting on a bench in the park and watching the local children play--until his motives raise suspicions. And in the title story, former judges Feathers and Veneering, whose story forms the basis of Gardam's novel, Old Filth, attend a party where the guest of honor never arrives, leaving the hostess distraught about her loss of face.

Other characters illustrate the accidents of survival and the inability of each of us to control our lives. In "Babette," the story of a writer, a bathtub stored in the attic runs amok and creates disaster. In "The Flight Path," which takes place in 1941, a young man makes a life or death choice, barely thinking about it at the time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary people 26 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't usually read short stories. i came to this volume because I was hooked on the characters from the Filth trilogy and wanted to know more. I was captivated by the parade of extraordinary people in the various stories. Extraordinary but completely believable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nearly brilliant.... 15 Aug. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a collection of short stories - soem of which are very good, but others are near misses.
I particularly enjoyed the stories of poignant human interactions ie in the stories Milly Ming and Granny and Jake,but found others a little contrived ie Pangbourne and The Latter Days of Mr Jones.
However the mixture of subjects and characters is interesting, and overall it is a good read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Old England 22 Feb. 2015
This engaging collection of short stories are all set in an England of the recent past, or a present England reflecting upon the past.

They vary in tone. There's the baroque The Flight Path, in which a young man takes refuge in a house in blitz-era London and encounters an alarming Dickensian cast. Pangbourne is funny, warm and sad and tells the story of a woman's life-long love of a gorilla in her local zoo. The Latter Days of Mister Jones leaves one bitter and angry at the demonisation of an innocent old man who simply misunderstand the rules of modern life. Milly Ming contrasts the atmosphere of a house which acts as a shelter for unmarried mothers at the start and end of its life. Snap is a wryly amusing story of a frustrated wife's attempt at a weekend away with her new lover.

Not all the stories work that well. Perhaps the weakest story is the title story (and the first one in the book, so do keep reading!) which features the cast from Gardam's popular Filth books. This one relied too much for its effect on a knowledge of the characters. There's one about a karmic bath (Babette) that left me cold. The Virgin of Bruge reports an elderly nun's confused Christmas encounter with a church that has been converted into a nightclub: a great idea, but it didn't really hit the mark.

Interestingly, I found myself re-reading several of these stories as a progressed through the book. Despite my reservations, I'd be happy to have it on my shelf at home (it was a library book!). But perhaps I don't need to, as I find the tales really have stayed with me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully well put-together 14 Mar. 2013
A wonderfully well put-together collection of exquisite short stories, all reflecting on the dignity (and occasional folly) of old age. In particular, I found "The latter days of Mr Jones" to be almost painfully affecting, and a terrible indictment on the slanderous times we live in. There are occasional misfires ("The last reuinion" was rather obvious and self-indulgent)but - from what I have read of other people's critiques of this book - everyone seems to have their favourites. I'm certainly glad I had the opportunity to read them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A marvellous collection of short stories.
Published 4 months ago by Susan Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars This turned out to be stories so a big disappointment. I wish...
This turned out to be stories so a big disappointment. I wish collections of short stories were very clearly labelled
Published 6 months ago by S. A. Griffiths
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent read!
Lovely book, but then it's by Jane Gardam, so bound to be. In good condition.
Published 7 months ago by Patrice
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reasonable read
Published 9 months ago by Richard O'Neill
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
More involved than some her others
Published 10 months ago by Fairygodmother
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
LOved it; stories very clever, well written and humourous,
Published 11 months ago by Wheatley
4.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
I love Jane Gardam's novels and short stories and enjoyed the majority of the stories in this collection. However, a few didn't come up to her usual standard. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Roz Colyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific!
Jane Gardam is a wonderful writer! These short stories were extremely varied, but totally captivating! Both my husband and I enjoyed reading them. Definitely recommend!!
Published 16 months ago by sinantim
3.0 out of 5 stars This is short stories
Having enjoyed Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat I lookef forward to another back story of one of the protagonists but this is short stories mostly about new people... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Pal
5.0 out of 5 stars another great read
I loved the Old Filth books and the first of these short stories is part of that series. These short stories are excellent.
Published 18 months ago by vicki mcgrail
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