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Dorothy W.

There's a lot to admire in this book, although I struggled with it a little bit. It felt uneven to me and it seemed to take off in some weird directions in the middle. But lots of people love the book, so maybe that's just me ... certainly the colonial context is interesting and Old Filth is an interesting character.


His childhood sounds something like Rudyard Kipling's.


Dorothy--I think you're right that the middle wasn't quite as smooth going as the rest of the book. The part with Claire's son and daughter in law was very seemed a little out of place, but I enjoyed the rest of the story very much. I liked the Colonial references as well and ended up liking Old Filth very much.
LindaY--Actually Gardam mentioned Kipling specifically in her afterword! I need to read more Kipling, too.


This took me more time than some of Gardam's others to get into too but it repaid the effort and I enjoyed the follow up too. I am lucky enough to be going to an author event with her in October!

Liz F

I have had this book hanging around for a long time but not felt like picking it up although I have read a lot of Jane Gardam's work before and really enjoyed it.
Hopefully since our library is closing now for a couple of months while it moves premises (from temporary back to its original much renovated building) I might get around to reading some of my own books and this will be on the TBR pile.
Thanks for the information that The Man In The Wooden Hat is a companion volume - I will look out for it.


I'm a fan of Jane Gardam generally, although I haven't read this one yet. I recommend Bilgewater, her coming-of-age novel, which I read in my early twenties and loved wholeheartedly.


I have this and the follow up on my TBR pile - I must read them before I leave for NYC - your review has reminded me, so thank you! I have also put off reading it due to it not having a female protagonist - no shame in knowing what you like and sticking to it, but sometimes it's good to push yourself to have a change.


I've seen the title mentioned a couple of times lately, but had no idea about the content. Thanks for the review, Danielle!


As another one reluctant to pick up the book this review is very welcome.


First Dorothy and now you. I'm going to have to read this book eventually. Drat you all! :)


I like the sound of the storyline though I was a bit put off by the title (at the beginning) till I read it through and saw what it was about. Thanks for this review.

Buried In Print

Oh she's just wonderful, isn't she? I had the same reservations about starting this one, but it pulls you in so quickly nonetheless. Agreed that Bilgewater is especially fun for bookish readers, a great place to start with her work.

Kate Bateman

"Verity" mentioned that she will be attending a Jane Gardam event in October. This is my first time to respond to a blog and am not sure if it is possible to ask a question from person who has a notice - "Verity" - where this event is?? I live in Dublin, and imagine Gardam is speaking at a UK venue, so I would need to travel. Regards, Kate


Verity--There were slowish parts, but I never lost interest. Now I really want to read the other book and get Betty's perspective. That author event sounds great!
Liz--I have a feeling I'll be picking up more of Gardam's work soon. I enjoyed this after setting it down so many times thinking I wouldn't like it. And I wonder, too, if I will ever get my own books read!
Litlove--I think you recommended Bilgewater before and I did buy it. I must dig it out now that I've had a taste of her work. Bilgewater sounds like something I really would like.
Rachel--I think I will always prefer books with female protagonists, but I do like stretching myself. Usually when I read a book with a main character that is a man I still end up losing myself into the story if the book is good. I still think I need to read more male authors, too!
Jenclair--This is definitely one that is hard to tell from the cover just what it's about. I thought it was well done.
Jodie--I'm glad I'm not the only one--now I don't feel so bad. Strangely I don't think about it when it comes to mysteries as so often the detective is a man, but with regular fiction I almost always want to read about a woman.
Stefanie--It's your turn now! :)
Mystica--I think I was put off by the title as well--even when I at first knew it had a Colonial setting, which I find sort of fascinating. I'm glad I picked it up in the end.
Buried in Print--I do hope more people pick this up--it sounds like I wasn't the only one to take my time picking it up to read. I can see Bilgewater will need to be the next book I read by her now.
Kate--I have forwarded your comment to Verity as I can see her email address on my end. Hopefully she will be able to get back to you directly. It would be great to hear Jane Gardam speak--I hope you have the opportunity to do so!


Kate, I'll email you directly, but for anyone else interested, the talk is at the Woodstock Bookshop in Oxfordshire on the 19th October

Thomas at My Porch

I really liked Old Filth and am happy I finally got my hands on a copy of The Man in the Wooden Hat. I can't wait to read it.


I'm so glad you told us what Filth referred to. I was curious about that. I have a couple of her books and I want to read them but something always stops me from doing so. Must get over that and pick one up. I think I'll be in for something different.


Verity--Thanks very much for sharing the link. It sounds like a fun event to go to! You'll have to report back to us. And I'll be reading more of Gardam's books!
Thomas--I'm looking forward to The Man in the Wooden Hat, too. I was curious about Betty in the story and now will get to hear her version of events.
Iliana--It is a strange sounding title, isn't it. Clever, too, really. It is hard to try and get to all the books you want to. I have loads of those 'I've been meaning to read' sorts of books.


I finished this book yesterday and loved it. Your review is superb, really captures everything I felt about this book. Many people had recommended it to me over the years as well, but I was always hesitant, it just didn't sound like my sort of thing. Well, how wrong can one be! I really want to read the follow-up now. Will be interesting to read Betty's side of the story, she sounded like a wonderfully intriguing character.


Kimbofo--Strangely the story didn't appeal to me at first either, but when I started reading I was caught up in his story right away, so I can understand your initial reaction! She's a very good writer and I then had to go and buy several more books by her. I also have the follow up and look forward to reading it.

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