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Last Friends (Old Filth Trilogy) Paperback – 2 Apr 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 85 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; 1 edition (2 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609450930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609450939
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.6 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 757,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

An ambitious and complex portrait of extraordinary times (Guardian)

Sharp, humane, generous and wonderfully funny, she is one of our very finest writers (Hilary Mantel)

This is as mordantly precise and moving a novel as you will find anywhere (Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The witty and sparkling new novel from Jane Gardam, bestselling author of Old Filth. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The last novel of an unforgettable trilogy, LAST FRIENDS follows, first, OLD FILTH, the story of Sir Edward Feathers, who Failed in London, Tried Hongkong; hence his nickname. A Raj orphan, Filth grew up in Malaya, went to school in England, became a judge, and then worked for the Empire as a member of the foreign service. The second novel, THE MAN IN THE WOODEN HAT, is the story of Filth's marriage to Betty, told from her point of view. Betty, who never really loved Filth, is reputed to have had an affair with Sir Terence Veneering, Filth's life-long rival in every aspect of life. Both of these novels are filled with wit, irony, and insights into people and relationships, especially those who serve the Empire overseas, and author Jane Gardam's ability to create scenes and unforgettable, often wry dialogue is almost unparalleled.

LAST FRIENDS, the third novel, is ostensibly the story of Sir Terence Veneering, a man of mysterious origins, Filth's rival and possibly Betty's lover. The novel opens as the villagers of St. Ague in Dorset, to which all three retired years ago, are preparing to travel to London for Old Filth's funeral, Betty and Veneering having passed on some time ago. The irrepressible Old Dulcie Williams, the village elder and widow of "Pastry Willy" Williams, a judge who was also in the foreign service, becomes the "voice" of the novel. Clearly dotty, and never shy, Dulcie provides the backstories of these characters, though she "sees" events which may or may not be real, has conversations with people who are long dead, and ignores anything (like the increasingly urgent communications from the bank) that might possibly complicate her life. She is joined in St.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, Jane, if you're reading this, I can't believe you've done it! I loved Old Filth and, after the Wooden Hat follow up, I didn't realise there was anything much left to say.

Me of little faith. I borrowed Last Friends from the library, but now shall have to buy it so I can foist it on friends who haven't been lucky enough to read it so far.

You found so many frayed ends to tie up and gave us new insight into Veneering in particular. And people who played only walk on parts in the first two books were fleshed out in this one, as well as new characters being introduced which added to the whole. I cried at one point and felt desolate at the end - as that really is The End.

One has to start with Old Filth to get the most out of Last Friends. These characters are never to be forgotten, by me, at any rate.

This novel is so funny, clever, poignant, insightful, quirky, and original, with lots of surprises.

Last Friends and Old Filth go into my Top 20 novels of All Time.

Thanks Jane
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Format: Hardcover
I was so looking forward to this book, having heard Jane Gardam speak about it, and having enjoyed the first two of the trilogy very much indeed. With the constant jumping about to Dulcie and Fiscal Smith I found it didn't add much to Veneering's story - not even about his wicked night with Betty. Am I perhaps the only person who found it rather contrived? The first two books provided a wonderful jigsaw, and it must be tempting to go on adding bits to the central picture, but I was really disappointed in how little substance there was in it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having loved the first two Old Filth stories, I was rather sad to find this was - frankly - just padding.
I didn't think it added much to the earlier stories, except by introducing more aspects or characters, but they were all rather peripheral, and one got the impression that this whole book was made up of what had been cut from the earlier versions of the story.
However, when you love a book and are sad to lose touch with the characters when you finish it, the one redeeming feature of this volume is that it delays the inevitable ending.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is eight years since I read the first volume of this trilogy (Old Filth) and five since I read the second (The Man in the Wooden Hat) - see my Amazon reviews - and I am afraid my memory of them, even with these reviews, is not too good. This third volume can, like the others, be read independently, though clearly a knowledge of those two others would greatly enrich the reading of reading this one.

Sir Edward Feathers, the central figure of the first volume and his wife Betty, the central figure of the second, have both died. So had Sir Terence Veneering, with whom Betty is believed to have had an affaire and who becomes the central figure in this volume, though it takes some time to realize it: half-way through the book we realize that he has changed his name, and it is easy to miss the time-shift between two of the chapters. They are all remembered by Sir Frederick Fiscal-Smith, who knows Veneering’ surprising past - how he rose to be a barrister from the humblest of circumstances. He, too, appears under a different name in some chapters, and again it is more than half-way through the book that we can make a connection. Before we can make them, the earlier incidents in the novel seem somewhat inconsequential, but then of course things begin to fall into place, though I have to say that I didn’t find the story all that interesting, and the ending ragged. I had given five stars to the other two volumes, which were far better than this one.
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