Book Notes: Old Filth by Jane Gardam

It’s an excellent, excellent book, my friends, and what’s even best, it’s part of a trilogy. Which means I can keep on reading the next two novels after devouring the first in two days.

This is a very British novel, in the best sense of the word. It’s funny and soppy in a clumsy, apologetic way. It’s about an old British gentleman who is nearing the end of his life and is saying goodbye to all of its components. He’s surrounded by a cast of verbose, clacking women who keep telling him he’s unable to feel love. Readers observe his inner life, however, and see that this is a man of very profound feeling. People in the novel seem to confuse the capacity to speechify with knowing how to love.

There’s so much in this novel. Amazing adventures. The British Empire. World War II. Romance. Friendship. Child abuse. Murder. Very British meals. Queen Mary. Unforgettable characters. And all of it, extremely funny.

I’m off to read the next book in the trilogy. It’s the same story but told from the perspective of the main character’s wife.

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