This beautifully written, elliptically told story is matched by a narrator of great skill and discretion -- rather like Filth himself, a lawyer who be..Show More »came rich by disappearing into his work, whose colleagues, finding him unknowable, assume there's nothing to know. There is, it turns out, a lot to know about Edward Feathers, all of it dramatic, human-scaled and utterly satisfying. Gardam tells his story with delicacy, wit and empathy for both Filth and the reader. (Filth experiences a torturous childhood, a topic I personally find almost unendurable in a book. Gardam covers it intelligently, without sensation or prurience). Especially wonderful are the secondary characters, drawn with almost Dickensian verve and particularity. ALL the characters are surprising and sharply drawn.
Here Gardam addresses the same story told in "Old Filth", from the point of view of his wife Betty. The long-married Feathers live on parallel tracks ..Show More »that almost never intersect. Yet their union, defined by a great secret, is enduring and mutually devoted. I was skeptical that Betty's story could match Edward's -- but it is equally engrossing, enlarging on events in the first volume, and full of surprises. In the end, the reader is treated to the greatest surprise of all, the eventual triumph of Edward, a fox in possum's clothing. I read this book immediately after "Old Filth", and cannot remember a more satisfying literary experience.
This third book in Gardam's Old Filth trilogy is fun, yet not quite as good as the first two installments. Edward and Betty Feathers and Terry Veneer..Show More »ing have passed on, and the story continues with the lesser characters in the series, most prominently Fiscal Smith and Dulcie, widow of Pastry Willie, the judge who was Betty's godfather. Much of the novel is flashback telling Terry Veneering's past as the son of an impoverished mother and an Odessan circus performer who ends up making it good. Recommended for fans of this series.
The biggest problem I had was the change in reader. Graeme Malcom, who read the first two installments, was perfect. Roger Watson makes the characters--especially the females--sound like caricatures.