- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Abacus (6 Feb. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0349139490
- ISBN-13: 978-0349139494
- Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.8 x 19.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (212 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Old Filth (Old Filth Trilogy 1) Paperback – 6 Feb 2014
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I recommend it wholeheartedly for its economy, breadth of narrative, and its insight, humour and pathos (Tracey Thorn Mail on Sunday)
A genuine masterpiece - funny, brilliant and wise - Old Filth is now reissued with a new cover.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The problems begin when you try to categorise this novel. Is it a tragedy? Is it a comedy? Is it both? If the intention was to explore the fate of the "Raj orphans" and how their emotional development was stunted by being farmed out on foster-parents or near-relatives and packed away to boarding schools at a wholly inappropriate and early stage of childhood, such individual pain and sadness should not have been compromised by endless dollops of mirth and hilarity, as is the case here. It is one thing, if you happen to be William Shakespeare, to lighten the gloom and relieve the heartache, by having moments of relaxation after high tragedy. But Gardam is no Shakespeare. Both the tragedy and the comedy are diminished by the lack of distinction between the two.
There are far too many "useful" coincidences in this novel. Unlike E.M. Forster, of whom the same charge can be made, Gardam offers little by way of explanation. Why should the hero's arch-enemy, and his wife's seducer, come to live in the same village in Dorset, right next-door? And why should the hero, up in Oxford to sit his entrance exams, suddenly encounter one of his cousins in a local tea-room?
Yet even if you are willing to overlook all kinds of implausibility in the plot, the constant shifts in time and setting will eat up your patience.Read more ›
There is much in this book to enjoy and laugh at, and when it is dealing with the tribulations of being old, or with Edward's picaresque adventures in his youth, it rarely strikes a discordant note. There are a few too many coincidences to make the plot work and I could have done without Queen Mary making an appearance - imported real people rarely add much to a narrative. But there is only one disappointing chapter, the bizarre sequence when Claire's son Oliver and his partner Vanessa come to visit. I don't think Gardam can write well about today's young people, and this yuppie couple are wholly unconvincing. Particularly irritating is the idea that anybody visiting their mother in Saffron Walden from London would overnight in Stamford, which is 60 miles away! The George at Stamford is good but not THAT good.
I found it to be a thought provoking page turner, that I know I will read again & again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Delightful book beautifully written full of humour and interestPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
An OK read. Only parts had any real depth and sometimes a bit boring.Published 4 months ago by Nielson
I enjoyed this insight into the lives of the children of the British empire just before the second world war, sent home at a very young age and growing up away from their parents. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sue M