Old Filth: Book summary and reviews of Old Filth by Jane Gardam

Old Filth

By Jane Gardam

Old Filth
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2006,
    289 pages.

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Book Summary

Sir Edward Feathers has progressed from struggling young barrister to wealthy expatriate lawyer to distinguished retired judge, living out his last days in comfortable seclusion in Dorset. The engrossing and moving account of his life, from birth in colonial Malaya, to Wales, where he is sent as a "Raj orphan," to Oxford, his career and marriage, parallels much of the 20th century's torrid and twisted history.

Old Filth was nominated for the 2005 Orange Prize.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Jane Gardam's beautiful, vivid and defiantly funny novel is a must." - The Times (UK)

"Gardam's superb new novel is surely her masterpiece...one of the most moving fictions I have read in years...This is the rare novel that drives its readers forward while persistently waylaying and detaining by the sheer beauty and inventiveness of it style." - The Guardian

"The Whitbread winner scores again with a compelling novel based, in part, on the early life of Rudyard Kipling." - Time Out

"Gardam's novel is an anthology of such bittersweet scenes, rendered by a novelist at the very top of her form. She may have taken the name of her hero's Hong Kong rival, Veneering, from an unattractive social climber in Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, but a reading of her new novel seems convincing proof that the name Old Filth also belongs in the Dickensian pantheon of memorable characters." - The New York Times

"[Old Filth] will bring immense pleasure to readers who treasure fiction that is intelligent, witty, sophisticated and - a quality encountered all too rarely in contemporary culture - adult." - The Washington Post

"Gardam's prose is so economical that no moment she describes is either gratuitous or wasted." - The New Yorker

"One of the finest achievements of this greatly talented British author." - Kirkus Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Julie Pearce
Old Filth
Have just reread this to preclude reading of The Man in the Wooden Hat. I love this book and its characters. The kind of read that sticks with me long after I've read the final page. I love Filth's obsessive quest for order in our world of chaos. And I find him charming.

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Author Information

Jane Gardam Author Biography

Novelist Jane Gardam was born Jean Mary Pearson in Coatham, North Yorkshire on July 11, 1928. She was educated at Saltburn High School for Girls and won a scholarship to the University of London, where she read English at Bedford College. In 1951 she worked as a Red Cross Travelling Librarian to Hospital Libraries, afterwards taking up editorial posts at Weldon Ladies Journal (sub-editor, 1952) and the literary weekly Time and Tide (Assistant Editor, 1952-4).

Her first book for adults, Black Faces, White Faces (1975), a collection of linked short stories about Jamaica, won both the David Higham Prize for Fiction and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Subsequent collections of short stories include The Pangs of Love and Other Stories (1983), winner of the Katherine Mansfield Award; Going ...

... Full Biography

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