FILTH is a lawyer with a practice in the Far East. A few remember that his nickname stands for Failed In London Try Hong Kong. But Old Filth is not as pompous as people imagine, and his past contains many secrets and dark hiding places.
"A Great Read, matched by a Great Reader"
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. And now that novel has been joined by a companion that also bursts with humor and wisdom: The Man in the Wooden Hat. As a portrait of a marriage, with all the bittersweet secrets and surprising fulfillment of the 50-year union of two remarkable people, this novel is a triumph.
Long ago, Old Filth was a Raj orphan - one of the many young children sent 'home' from the East to be fostered and educated in England. Jane Gardam's novel tells his story, from his birth in what was then Malaya to the extremities of his old age. In so doing, she not only encapsulates a whole period from the glory days of British Empire, through the Second World War, to the present and beyond, but also illuminates the complexities of the character known variously as Eddie, the Judge, Fevvers, Filth, Master of the Inner Temple, Teddy and Sir Edward Feathers.
This is the third book in the Old Filth trilogy (Old Filth, The Man in the Wooden Hat, Last Friends). Last Friends depicts the marriage of Edward Feathers and Betty as seen through the eyes of Edward’s friend and Betty's lover Terry Veneering.
"Bring back Graeme Malcolm!"
In prose vibrant and witty, The Queen of the Tambourine traces the emotional breakdown - and eventual restoration - of Eliza Peabody, a smart and wildly imaginative woman who has become unbearably isolated in her prosperous London neighborhood. Eliza must reach the depths of her downward spiral before she can once again find health and serenity. This story of a woman's confrontation with the realities of sanity will delight listeners who enjoy the works of Anita Brookner, Sybille Bedford, Muriel Spark, and Sylvia Plath. Winner of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel of the Year.
"The story kept dragging me down into depression"
During one glorious summer between the wars, the realities of life and the sexual ritual dance of the adult world creep into the life of young Margaret Marsh. Her father, preaching the doctrine of the unsavory Primal Saints; her mother, bitterly nostalgic for what might have been; Charles and Binkie, anchored in the past and a game of words; dying Mrs. Frayling and Lydia the maid, given to the vulgar enjoyment of life; all contribute to Margaret's shattering moment of truth. And when the storm breaks, it is not only God who is on the rocks as the summer hurtles towards drama, tragedy, and a touch of farce.
A young girl aspiring to be a writer recounts her experiences growing up in England during the Second World War. An English schoolgirl has problems, many of them funny, in her attempts to grow up socially. A reissue. Literature of Delight. Headstrong, independent Jessica, at 13, already knows she will be a writer. This early work from a fine British novelist is one of her wittiest. A treasure for sophisticated readers, who won't be shy about seeking out Gardam's adult novels as well, such as Robinson Crusoe's Daughter.
"Can't Understand Strong British Accent!"
It is a wet day in Dorset, and walking to a luncheon party is Sir Edward Feathers QC, followed by two elderly friends: his scruffy neighbour and sparring partner, Veneering, and Fiscal-Smith, the meanest lawyer ever to make a fortune at the Bar. Fans of Jane Gardam's bestselling novel, Old Filth, will be delighted to encounter Filth, now almost ninety, making his immaculate way to Privilege Hill.
Marigold Green calls herself “hideous, quaint and barmy”. Other people call her Bilgewater, a corruption of Bill's daughter. Growing up in a boys' school where her father is housemaster, she is convinced of her own plainness and peculiarity. Groomed by the wise and loving Paula, upstaged by bad, beautiful Grace, and ripe for seduction by entirely the wrong sort of boy, she suffers extravagantly and comically in her pilgrimage through the turbulent, twilight world of alarming adolescence.
'I ought to tell you at the beginning that I am not quite normal having had a violent experience at the age of nine'. Jessica Vye's 'violent experience' colours her schooldays and her reaction to the world around her - a confining world of wartime restrictions, Viyella dresses, nicely-restrained essays and dusty tea shops. For Jessica has been told that she is 'beyond all possible doubt', a born writer.
Shortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize. Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat told with bristling tenderness and black humour the stories of that Titan of the Hong Kong law courts, Old Filth QC, and his clever, misunderstood wife Betty. Last Friends, the final volume of this trilogy, picks up with Terence Veneering, Filth's great rival in work and - though it was never spoken of - in love.
In a rare New York appearance, the beloved British author of Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat, the funny, romantic and surprising paired novels about a 50-year marriage between a crusty British barrister and his sparkling surprising Betty, discusses these books and Last Friends, her brand-new third chapter in this remarkable series. Paul Hecht will read from the book. In conversation with Stacy Schiff (Cleopatra).
This delightful novel describes the post-war summer of 1946 - and follows the growing-up of three young women in the months between leaving school and taking up their scholarships at university. Una Vane, whose widowed mother runs a hairdressing salon in her front room, goes bicycling with Ray, the boy who delivers the fish and milk. Hetty Fallowes struggles to become independent of her possessive, loving, tactless mother. And Lieselotte Klein, uncovers tragedy in the past and magic in the present.
Faith Fox has led a life full of heartbreak and abandonment, lacking in simplicity and love - and she's not even one week old. She has suffered the unexpected and inexplicable loss of her mother in childbirth; her father, an overworked doctor grown callous with stress, has neither the ability nor the interest to take on the difficult task of raising his child alone; her grandmother, Thomasina, has decided to abscond to Egypt with a retired general rather than acknowledge and accept the loss of her daughter, whom she loved so distressingly well.
In 1904, six-year-old Polly Flint is sent to live with her aunt’s in a house by the sea. Orphaned shortly thereafter, Polly will spend the next eighty years stranded in this quiet corner of the world as 20th century rages in the background. Throughout it all Polly returns again and again to the story of Robinson Crusoe, who, marooned like her, fends off the madness of isolation with imagination.
"Great book, terrible reading"
Filth (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong) is a successful lawyer when he marries Elisabeth in Hong Kong soon after the War. Reserved, immaculate, and courteous, Filth finds it hard to demonstrate his emotions.
But Elisabeth is different - a free spirit. She was brought up in the Japanese Internment Camps, which killed both her parents but left her with a lust for survival and an affinity with the Far East. No wonder she is attracted to Filth's hated rival at the Bar - the brash, forceful Veneering.
A rather mysterious old clergyman is dead, and his most adoring child, 16-year-old Athene is desolate. A statuesque beauty, greatly admired, she is also lonely, untouchable and living a secret life of fairly dangerous fantasy. Athene's mother, at once highly organized and monumentally vague, dispatches her children to spend the holidays with assorted friends and relatives. For Athene, victim of plans gone awry, that golden summer after the funeral becomes deliciously puzzling fodder for her fantasy.
Alles an Edward Feathers ist ohne Fehl und Tadel - seine Garderobe, seine Manieren und sein Ruf als glänzender Anwalt. Nun ist er alt und muss mit dem Tod seiner Frau Betty zurechtkommen, so wie er immer mit allem zurechtgekommen ist. Nie hat er darüber gesprochen, wie es war, als Vierjähriger aus einer glücklichen Kindheit in Malaysia gerissen und zu einer hartherzigen Pflegemutter nach Wales verschickt zu werden. Seine perfekte Haltung täuscht alle und manchmal sogar ihn selbst. Doch mit Bettys Tod bricht etwas in ihm auf. Und so setzt er sich an einem Wintermorgen ans Steuer seines Wagens und fährt los, das eigene Leben zu erkunden.
In 1904, when she was six, Polly Flint went to live with her two holy aunts at the yellow house by the marsh - so close to the sea that it seemed to toss like a ship, so isolated that she might have been marooned on an island. And there she stayed for 81 years, while the century raged around her, while lamplight and Victorian order became chaos and nuclear dread. Crusoe's Daughter, ambitious, moving and wholly original, is her story.
Marigold Green calls herself ‘hideous, quaint and barmy’. Other people call her Bilgewater, a corruption of Bill’s daughter. Growing up in a boys’ school where her father is housemaster, she is convinced of her own plainness and peculiarity. Groomed by the wise and loving Paula, upstaged by bad, beautiful Grace and ripe for seduction by entirely the wrong sort of boy, she suffers extravagantly and comically in her pilgrimage through the turbulent, twilight world of alarming adolescence.