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106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant satire on England and India
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...
Published on 27 Sept. 2004 by A. Craig

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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Film is better than book!
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...
Published on 7 Mar. 2012 by Katie Block


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106 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant satire on England and India, 27 Sept. 2004
By 
A. Craig "Amanda Craig" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: These Foolish Things (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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147 of 158 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Big Question, 26 Feb. 2012
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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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A latter life adventure, 2 Mar. 2012
By 
Bookie (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An affectionate view of the elderly, 19 April 2005
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: These Foolish Things (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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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Film is better than book!, 7 Mar. 2012
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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186 of 210 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE, 2 Mar. 2012
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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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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars These Foolish Things, 4 Mar. 2005
By 
Rachael (Brighthampton, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: These Foolish Things (Paperback)
My first encounter with the writer and what great introduction. Beautifully written, comical, touching and thought provoking. The story unfolds and just as you think you know what is coming up it takes another turn. The characters are so well thought through and developed that you are desperate to read more about them. The writing style and language are very accessible and so funny in places. This would make a great book club read. The topic on first inspection is very unusual, I couldn't see how the book would work but it really does. From Norman to Evelyn, The call centre staff to the Doctor who thought up the idea up in the first place this really is a lovely lovely read
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, 27 Feb. 2012
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I wanted to read it before the film came out, and loved this book. Well drawn characters and lots of laughs plus a few tears. Makes me think about where I will be if I get to retirement! Thought provoking, enjoyable, and makes me want to visit India.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The residents will contemplate their mortality and die peacefully here., 17 Mar. 2014
By 
Carol (Torrevieja, Spain) - See all my reviews
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A Spielbergian radiance" emanates from start to finish.
There is one certainty in life and that is we will all die at some point in time. Sorry to be so morbid but somethings we have to accept as inevitable. Hopefully you'll see my point soon.
Moggach's novel was published in 2004 as These Foolish Things. It is a cathartic experience for the readers as well as the retirees who seek a different life in their twilight years and their families who come to visit. The Marigold, Bangalore and India prove to be a turning point in their lives rather like Robert Frost's crossroads in The Road Not Taken where the retirees can reflect on their lives, past, present and future. The Marigold may not be the best or most exotic of final destinations, it is a home for old people where the residents will contemplate their mortality and die peacefully.
"A little corner of Britain. An oasis of olde-worlde charm in the hustle and bustle of modern Bangalore." This is how it is marketed and even though ironically, the hotel is shabby and not at its best, certainly not the quality they were expecting, it becomes a home where friendships and love blossom.
Moggach's central idea was sociological considering the ever-growing ageing population in the U.K. The prospect of growing old and suffering poverty was not a thought to relish. What is going to happen to them and who is going to care for them?
Sonny and his cousin Dr Ravi masterminded the idea of opening up the Indian hotel:
"Why should they be mouldering away in rainy, dirty old Britain, when they could be sitting under a palm tree, tanning their wrinkles and getting their false teeth stuck into a nice juicy mango?"
It doesn't take much to persuade a mismatch of extremely interesting and diverse retirees to travel to India. The NHS is severely criticised, hospitals and services are being cut and black doctors are overworked. Randy Norman is infatuated with the idea that Indian women don't have hangups over sex and as long as he can get viagra out there and plenty of sex he won't feel "incarcerated" into what he described as a "penal institution" aka a home for old people back in the UK.
Muriel is bigoted and totally reliant on Keith, her son who disappears after a dodgy business deal. Surprisingly, she warms to India and turns to spiritualism finding solace there. Evelyn sees it as an adventure and she becomes confident and more independent, ultimately finding love for the second time in her life. Madge too finds love and security. She quips: "Life begins at seventy. seventy's the new forty, didn't you know?" I am sure some of you will be relieved to hear that like me.
"People think we're waiting to die. Well I'm starting to live." Moggach moves away from the maudling thoughts of mortality to show happiness in friendship and love. The central characters have "refused to resign themselves to ending their lives in quiet despair." Sadly, two of the characters die peacefully and this inevitability has an adverse effect on the others. Douglas Ainslie was gripped with panic and asked:"Is this what it's like?"His epiphany was to end his marriage to Jean and marry a second time for love. A new beginning, a new start. Unrealistic but optimistic.
Christmas was a time for reunions with families who were more than happy to send their parents to India to end their days cut off from their nearest and dearests. Sounds heartless, doesn't it? Evelyn's son Christopher is grossly unhappy with his wife and their spoilt children. India gives him an opportunity to find love but he is bullied to return to America to play the family man and to keep up the pretence.
We are told of the charms of India: "The miracle of this reunion had affected them all…prodigal sons, daughters…drawn to India by its transforming magic."
I found it very philosophical and refreshing. Yes there are many moments of sadness but there is warmth, humour and more importantly, HOPE.
PUBLISHERS: Vintage Books. ISBN: 978-0-099-57202-2
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, moving and wise, 7 Nov. 2012
By 
Cloggie Downunder (Australia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
These Foolish Things (also published under the title The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) is the fifteenth novel by British novelist Deborah Moggach. When Londoner Dr Ravi Kapoor complains to his Bangalore cousin Sunil Rahim about his English father-in-law, Norman's unwelcome presence in his Dulwich home, Sunny hits upon a brilliant business idea. Together, they establish a retirement home with a difference, for British pensioners: location, Bangalore, India. They tidy up the Dunroamin Guest House, call it The Dunroamin Retirement Hostel, do some marketing with brochures and a video, and before long, Ravison Pty Ltd has installed fifteen ageing English guests at Dunroamin, including said father-in-law. Each of the guests, however, brings with them both physical and emotional baggage. In a guesthouse full of elderly residents, with the onsite nurse being, in reality, a chiropody assistant, and the on-call doctor running a sexual health clinic, problems are bound to arise. Moggach introduces a cast of realistic characters, Brits that one could easily meet in any British town, Indians familiar everywhere in India. The plot is original and has a bit of everything: mugging, revelation of long-kept family secrets, a eunuch, an Indian call centre, a broken hip, a heart attack, drug smuggling, and reaches a marvellously crafted climax. This novel is funny, moving and wise and there's plenty of nostalgia for a bygone era. It is also thought provoking: the reader will reflect on how we, in Western society, treat (or mistreat) our elderly. I found it a feel-good read and I can't wait to see the movie.
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