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These Foolish Things [Paperback]

Deborah Moggach
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (531 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

31 Mar 2005

Note to customers: this book is also available under the title "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel".

When Ravi Kapoor, an over-worked London doctor, is driven beyond endurance by his disgusting and difficult father-in-law, he asks his wife: 'Can't we just send him away somewhere? Somewhere far, far away.' His prayer seems to have been answered when his entrepreneurial cousin, Sonny, sets up a retirement home, recreating a lost corner of England in a converted guesthouse in Bangalore. Travel and set-up are inexpensive, staff willing and plentiful - and the British pensioners can enjoy the hot weather and take mango juice with their gin. These Foolish Things is a brilliant comedy of manners, mixing acute observation with a deeper message about how different cultures cope in the modern world.


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These Foolish Things + Heartbreak Hotel + The Ex-Wives
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (31 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099461846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099461845
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (531 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 274,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"She writes beautifully, as always, and the phrase-making is as good as the characterisation...brilliant" (Sunday Telegraph)

"A delightful novel" (Scotsman)

"These Foolish Things, a kind of less savage version of Kingsley Amis's unbearably funny novel Ending Up. Moggach's prose is markedly more graceful than Agatha Christie's, her moral world is not dissimilar" (The Times)

"It is characterisation at which Moggach excels. Her gift is to perceive and describe our confusions about life-and to write with feeling about the continual quest for love and happiness that is part of the human condition" (Sunday Times)

"Moggach has served us a treat with this novel. Moving, sincere, funny, terrifying in places, it is a truthful view of old age and what it brings" (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

Now a major motion picture - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - starring Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Tom Wilkinson, Judi Dench, Penelope Wilton and Celia Imrie.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
101 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant satire on England and India 27 Sep 2004
By A. Craig HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
Her best novel since Tulip Fever, this is a brilliantly funny book about how to the elderly Britain has become a foreign country. An overworked India doctor sets up a retirement home in India, and a group of quirky pensioners make what is probably their last journey to where the Empire's sun never sets. The young Indians they meet are as clean and respectful as young British people are not - fascinated by details of their mundane lives which could make them convincing telesales workers. Yet there are complicated connections with the past which gradually emerge, and an unexpected romance. A wonderful, stylish, touching and bitter-sweet story about what Kingsley Amis called Ending Up.
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144 of 155 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Big Question 26 Feb 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I enjoyed reading this book. It ends up being quite a heartwarming story but it does take you on the journey of 'what have I done with my life' as all the characters in the book are asking the same thing as they are reaching the end of their lives. I had not seen the film before reading the book but knew which actors where playing which characters and it made the book live even more. It balances the needs, hopes and aspirations of older people who feel invisible in todays society with the lives of their children/friends and the world they now live in.
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70 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A latter life adventure 2 Mar 2012
By Bookie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
So this is a marketing opportunity for These Foolish Things by Moggach........but does it matter? In my view, not at all. Same book, different title. This title links with the film. Haven't seen the film, but it appeals and I prefer to read the book before viewing.

Not my usual read, but sometimes a change is as good as a rest. What an unexpected pleasure; I really enjoyed this book. Basically, it take an eclectic mix of geriatrics and displaces them, by choice, to another world and time. The glorious days of the half remembered past mix with the relity of the present. The characters are so diverse and so individual, I was drawn in to their experiences. Who are they and why are they there at the latter end of life? This is a well drawn tale of people; their foibles and hopes. It's a story of the challenges of diversity; culture, age, gender, self belief.........

I had no great expectation of this book, but I left it, unexpectedly, feeling upbeat. It is bitter sweet. It's not all light and fluffy, but Moggach's prose is tight, easy to read. The characters are totally engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to the film and hope it does justice to the prose.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the film 15 July 2013
By Julian
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like many others here, I bought the book after seeing the film "The best exotic marigold hotel". Typically, I'd expect to like the book better, as typically you get much more detail of a character's thoughts and attitudes, and can appreciate the "tricks" of the writing. In this case, however, the story (or stories) in the film were far more engaging than the book. There is really very little in common between the two. I suppose that's not the book's fault, and you could argue that the film adaptation is at fault in not being faithful to the book. Nevertheless, the film is better, and if you're looking to read "the book of the film" you will be disappointed.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An affectionate view of the elderly 19 April 2005
By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
There have been other novels set in old age homes - Muriel Spark's Memento Mori, Alan Isler's The Hamlet of Fifth Avenue - and there is a certain formula about them. But Deborah Moggach's is the most kindly of these novels and, unusually, envisages the possibility that the elderly might actually get a new lease of life under such circumstances. Not possible, it is suggested, in cash-strapped Britain; but why not outsource the care for the elderly to Bangalore in India, where a little money goes a long way, where the climate is better, and where, above all, a former British hotel converted into a somewhat run-down retirement home (called Dunroamin) can create a little island of Old England in the midst of a throbbing Indian city. One has to suspend one's disbelief that elderly folk would really be happy in such a setting, but, it is suggested, there is something about the atmosphere of India which makes possible some kind of renewal of the spirit which gives new insights and meaning to what had been lonely lives in England. For much of the book the stories of each of these elderly folk seems episodic and disconnected, and there seems to be no particular plot; but in due course a plot does emerge in which coincidences - somewhat forced in my view - connect many of these lives together in unexpected ways. It is a kindly book, both about the elderly and about India and Indians, and that makes it an attractive book.
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184 of 208 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE 2 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book because of the soon to be released film. I started to read it and realised this book is the same book I had read just recently and had ordered at the same time. So if you have already read These Foolish Things don't buy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I could find nothing in Amazon's blurb to say this and it only says it in small print on the back of the book. So readers beware!!!!
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Film is better than book! 7 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
The book is nothing special. Maybe I shouldn't have seen the film, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as it did dictate the way I viewed the book. But that said, there are several changes between the two (no spoilers here), the film seemingly making the changes for the better. They are both heart-warming stories but the movie has the edge, with a well reworked screenplay and a very accomplished cast.

The humour in both is good - not laugh out loud comedy that found recently in books like Ben Elton's Popcorn or Tony Royden's wonderful dark comedy The Dealer, but it's still pretty good.

So a word of advice, if you plan to see the film (or have seen the film), I wouldn't read the book afterwards, as you will probably be as disappointed as I.
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