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105 of 111 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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49 of 55 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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105 of 111 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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146 of 157 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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72 of 78 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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34 of 38 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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49 of 55 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
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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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37 of 42 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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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 9 Aug. 2008
By 
SJSmith (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: These Foolish Things (Paperback)
A very different book to what I had expected. I thought it was going to be a light-hearted comedy when in fact, it's much more. I loved all of the characters, feeling they were a good representation either of their gender, age or nationality. The novel opens with Ravi, born in India but lived in London having trained as a doctor. His wife Pauline has the patience of a saint where her father, Norman, is concerned. Norman is once more living with them, having been asked to leave yet another residential home. This is to Ravi's disgust and is having a detrimental effect on his marriage. One evening his cousin Sonny is visiting London on business and Ravi unburdens himself. It is at this point that Sonny hits on the idea to build a residential home in Bangalore, India. The plan comes through and Norman is the first resident.

Slowly, we are introduced to all the characters who eventually come to stay Dunroamin (play on words from `done roaming'). We hear their stories about why they got there and about their family lives. Some of the stories are brutally honest and seem to be representative of the aged today. Their initial fears of moving to India and also their prejudices are eventually put to one side as they realise one culture is not that different to another. Wonderfully written with superb narrative and characterisations, there are definite highlights and lowlights to retiring to a residential home but moving to another country was not one of the lowlights. It had an effect on all of the residents, making them evaluate their lives and what was important to them. I got to the end of novel having felt happy and sad - all the signs of a good writer to instil emotions in their reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light-hearted but with a serious undertone, 18 Mar. 2013
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
I have not seen the film which was made from this book and which prompted the title change from the original (and boringly generic) "These Foolish Things". However I very much enjoyed this gently charming story which is in parts very sad and in other parts quite hilarious.

The story is about a very anglicised Indian doctor working in the UK who is being driven mad by his boorish father-in-law. He hatches a plan with his Indian-based cousin to establish a rest home for the elderly English in Bangalore. The 24 available places are quickly snapped up by children anxious to send their parents away or by elderly women who have become disenchanted with today's England and who sense the opportunity for a more traditional way of life in India. Despite the many hiccups behind the scenes in getting the rest home up and running, the residents quickly adapt to life in India and many of them discover a new lease on life or a new perspective on the lives that they have left behind.

For the most part it's a light-hearted and very enjoyable book to read but there are also some thought-provoking observations about racism, the outsourcing of industries and the way we treat the elderly.
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