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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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HALL OF FAMEon 27 September 2004
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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on 26 February 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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 March 2012
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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on 2 March 2012
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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on 7 March 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, but 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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on 27 February 2012
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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on 4 March 2005
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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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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on 12 August 2015
This was the worst book I've read in some time. Clearly written in a style for the lowest common denominator, the book is riddled with tacky, vulgar Brit vernacular which would put anyone off. It's the same, old same old regarding worn out phrases and cliches, constant reference to sex (can the British public never get its head out of the gutter?), and tired old references to the lousy NHS, council estates, and wasted lives. Seriously, this book makes British culture look like complete trash. It was depressing and the level of writing was poor. Such a shame, because the movie was an absolute gem. The screenwriter took the main plot idea and turned it into something truly worth seeing. Trash the book; it's trash anyway.
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on 5 March 2012
I love Deborah Moggach's writing and I think this is her best so far.This is an adventure which carries you along covering a real, no holds barred look at old age,its limitations and losses.Sound like a contradiction in terms?It isn't.The theme is about how life can change for the better at any age if we can keep our hope alive.It's about friendship,love and family.Being abandoned,neglected and yet finding somewhere to thrive.The novel is set in Bangalore and the life,the colour,the poverty and the squalor are all there.The most moving part is the compassionate weaving of the stories of the residents with the lives of the Indian people around them.Did I mention that it makes you laugh and makes you cry?
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