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Going Gently Paperback – 25 Jan 2001
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"A funny, touching and reflective study of life and love that not only reinforces his status as one of Britain's finest comic novelists, but also lays claim for him to be considered as one of our shrewdest and most compassionate writers ... A wonderful novel, mature in its handling of life's triumphs and tragedies, warm-hearted and witty in its insight into the nature of love" (Yorkshire Post)
"Going Gently, like all the best comic novels, mixes sadness with laughter to great effect ... probably Nobbs's finest work" (Independent)
"An extraordinary rich and satisfying novel ... I laughed constantly"
"Spellbinding ... Enormously entertaining and extremely funny" (Guardian)
"We should be thankful for the continued brilliance of David Nobbs" (Mail on Sunday)
A wonderfully funny book from one of Britain's best comedy writers and most astute observers of human nature. In the immortal words of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, 'Do not go gentle into that good night.' A must-buy for fans of Nobbs' Reginald Perrin and Henry Pratt comedy series', this is a touching and funny story of a rollercoaster life, from the master of comedy books.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
This is the sort of book that reminds me of what literature is for. Simply breathtaking. I'm off to order everything else David Nobbs has ever written.
As another reviewer observed, Nobbs hits precisely the right note of intertwining comedy/tragedy as two sides of the same coin. Kate was a witty, charming and deeply lovable character, seemingly able to hold her own in any situation, except perhaps in the area of her heart. The accounts of her various relationships/marriages are described to perfection, each quite different, yet all profoundly moving, illustrating the fact that life is not black and white: that you can love someone you are not with, or be with someone who you do not love (enough). The supporting characters are colourful and diverse, from the rather dull and conventional offspring of Kate herself (so often true that the children of someone extraordinary are very ordinary), to the various eccentricities of her parents and extended family: her spinster sister Enid and her tactless and outspoken sister-in-law Bunny. Nobbs is the master of the understatement, and often says much more about his characters in a few well chosen words than another writer could in a chapter.
For anyone who has not read David Nobbs before, this novel is a jewel in his crown, but the crown is heavily bejewelled, and the "Bit of a do" novels and the Pratt series are also well worth dipping into.
Kate Copson is 99 years old and lying in hospital following a stroke. She replays her long life from innocent chapel girl to sexy national treasure by way of five marriages. The supporting cast of family, lovers, friends and fellow patients are beautifully and economically evoked by the author, whose forte I think is bestowing catch phrases and ticks which bring such minor characters to life.
Personally I found the murder mystery seemingly at the heart of the novel a little irritating and unsatisfying. Particularly as it moved towards its conclusion. The book would have stood perfectly well as an extended family saga built round its engaging narrator.