The New York Times called Sir Edward Feathers one of the most memorable characters in modern literature. A lyrical novel that recalls his fully lived life, Old Filth has been acclaimed as Jane Gardam's masterpiece, a book where life and art merge. And now that beautiful, haunting novel has been joined by a companion that also bursts with humor and wisdom: The Man in the Wooden Hat.
Old Filth was Eddie's story. The Man in the Wooden Hat is the history of his marriage told from the perspective of his wife, Betty, a character as vivid and enchanting as Filth himself. They met in Hong Kong after the war. Betty had spent the duration in a Japanese internment camp. Filth was already a successful barrister, handsome, fast becoming rich, in need of a wife but unaccustomed to romance. A perfect English couple of the late 1940s. As a portrait of a marriage, with all the bittersweet secrets and surprising fulfillment of the 50-year union of two remarkable people, the novel is a triumph.
The Man in the Wooden Hat is fiction of a very high order from a great novelist working at the pinnacle of her considerable power.
©2009 Jane Gardam (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Witty, subversive, moving." (The Times, London)
"[T]old with quintessentially British humor.... Gardam's prose is witty and precise." (Publishers Weekly)
Unlike "Old Filth" where Eddie's character is fairly thoroughly examined, Betty remained fairly unknown to me - for one thing, the bit about her time in Japanese camps is frustratingly alluded to a couple of times, but otherwise completely dropped. Tough to say more without invoking spoilers.
I strongly recommend the book for its descriptions of Hong Kong, as well as the minor characters (who interested me more than Betty herself). Until the end, I had seen these two novels as completely complementary, more or less standing alone. However, the ending of "Hat", which I found riveting as opposed to the slow start, serves as a highly satisfying closure for the combined stories. Reading "Old Filth" first would make more sense in terms of background for this one; reading this one first would cause a "spoiler effect" for some of the issues raised in the other book that were resolved here.
Graeme Malcolm narrates both books well.
Pleasant enough book but not terribly exciting. I finished it so that in itself rates at least a C plus. Loved the narrator.
sure, but would tell them it's a little slow.
He makes it worthwhile.
Storyline has turns and unusual character development.
Follows several characters with good insite with the twist being one tht wealth and success do not always satisfy the spirit.
Ther heroine was my hero. The others were real people with virtues and flaws. All the character were worth pondering.
I prefer to listen and think and listen some more. I wanted to return to this one each time I approached the car.
I look forward to more by this author/narrator combination.
I acutually read the bood twice because it was hard to follow. It was a short book so I could take the time and read it again and I did catch a lot more but still not one of my favorite books.
I am not sure. I think some of the accents was hard to follow.
The narration was excellent. However, for all the rave reviews, which were the impetus for me purchasing this title, the book was boring. I only finished it because I had invested quite a few hours into it.
Jane Gardam is a terrific writer -- every sentence is a jewel. That means it's not good for listening to in complex driving situations. This book focuses on Betty, the wife of Eddie Feathers, who was the subject of her wonderful earlier novel, Old Filth.
It was better than Old Filth
I am not interested in reading anything more by this author. I only read the second book to see if it could shed any light on the first.
The narrator was just fine.
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