A Supremely Literary And Youthful Book Sunday Times Gardam S Writing Is Like Painting On Glass Vivid And Translucent Independent What Gardam Is Particularly Good At And What Made Old Filth So Compelling Is Creating For Her Characters Faades Of Complete Conventionality, Which Are Then Chipped Away To Reveal Strange Internal WorkingsBut One Need Not Be Familiar With Filth S History To Be Moved By Betty S Final Summation Of Her Long Marriagein A Novel Preoccupied By The Fear Of Becoming Old, Anachronistic And Obsolete, This Late Flowering Love Stands As A Reminder That Time Does Not Just Decay, It Ripens Too Olivia Laing, Guardian What A Lot Jane Gardam Knows About Love And Its Accommodations The Rich Contradictory Play Of Desire And Loyalty, The Sudden Storms Of Feeling That Assail The Edifice Of A Marriage And How Elegantly And Intelligently And Kindly She Writes About The Instinctive, Tendril Like Gropings Of One Human Heart Towards Another Jane Shilling, Telegraph People And Places, The Past And The Present, Are Woven Into Threads Of Narrative Which, Drawn Together, Give The Writing A Marvellous Lilting Power This Novel And Its Predecessor, Old Filth, Have A Symbiotic Relationship They Are Hugely Enjoyable Entities In Their Own Right But The Sum Of Them Adds Up To Something Than The Parts Together The Novels Offer A View Of England Refracted Through Its Colonial Past Childhood, Home And Exile Are Constantly Recurring Themes But The Real Subject Is Love Richard Eyre, Guardian The Characters Tell Their Own Stories Through Flashes Of Thought And Perfectly Pitched Dialogue Independent On Sunday A Delicious New Novel Gardam S Writing Is Lyrical And Never Strains Brimming With A Celebratory Attitude To Language Financial Times Delicious And Poignant There Are Rich Complexities Of Chronology, Settings And Characters, All Manipulated With Marvellous Dexterity Spectator One Of The Few Feats That S Harder Than Doing Justice To A Complicated Marriage Is Doing Justice To It TwiceOn Its Own, The Man In The Wooden Hat Is Funny And Affecting, But Read Alongside Old Filth, It S Remarkable New York TimesA Box Of Delights Another Masterpiece From Jane Gardam The Man In The Wooden Hat Is A Companion Volume To Old Filth, Which Was Shortlisted For The Orange Prize


3 thoughts on “The Man In The Wooden Hat: From the Orange Prize shortlisted author (Old Filth Book 2) (English Edition)

  1. Victoria Weisfeld Victoria Weisfeld says:

    Getting to know intimately one half of a married couple can ill prepare you for meeting the other half, who may fail to live up to their superior advance billing, or, as likely, be so surprisingly normal even pleasant that you mistrust your own memory of past marital revelations Award winning British writer Jane Gardem s books Old Filth from the husband s point of view and The Man in the Wooden Hat the wife s apply these different lenses to the same 50 year marriage.I ve read only this one, published in 2009, but went back to reviews of Old Filth 2006 and found that many of the animating events in the couple s life are described in both novels While the bones of the relationship remain the same, Little here is as it seemed in Old Filth, and both books are the richer for it, said Louisa Thomas in her New York Times review.The sobriquet Old Filth created by and applied to talented barrister Edward Feathers, later Sir Edward is an acronym for Failed In London, Try HongKong Try there, he does, and succeeds Also in Hong Kong, his future wife Elisabeth Macintosh debates whether to marry him, decides to, and carries through at rather a slap dash pace in ancient borrowed finery Eddie s preoccupation is that Betty should never leave him, and she promises she won t This is a promise Betty learns will be enforced by Edward s best friend, the card playing Chinese dwarf Albert Ross Albatross If you leave him, I will break you, Ross threatens, and she is sure he means it.The wedding ceremony follows by a few hours a one night affair, in which Betty is deflowered by Eddie s nemesis, rival barrister Terry Veneering Trust Charles Dickens to recognize an allusive name when he hears one like the nouveau riche social climbers in Our Mutual Friend, this Veneering has a charming surface His attraction Betty lasts for decades, and he weaves in and out of the story of the couple s marriage.While a story of interpersonal relationships, the book takes place after World War II, and is necessarily revelatory about broad social upheavals in Britain Class and privilege are never the same after the unraveling of Empire, the economic upheavals of the decade before the war, and the war itself The world into which the three protagonists were born simply disappeared beneath their feet and dissolved out of their arms.The novel follows the couple from youth to old age, with Betty s death planting tulips in their rural garden Mostly, though, it focuses on their early relationship, including the tragedy of a miscarriage that leaves Betty unable to have her heart s desire, children The closest relationship she maintains with a young person is with Veneering s precocious son, Harry, whom she meets when he is nine years old and crunching a lobster under the table at a banquet She has numerous lively and colorful friends in Hong Kong and later in London, whose appearance in the narrative is always welcome.As for the everyday relationship between the spouses, the reader is shown the benefits of accommodation rather than the head to head battles that often characterize such books.Well plotted and carefully written, full of good humor and getting on with it A third book in the Old Filth trilogy, Last Friends, was published in 2013 It s a view of the Feathers s marriage from Veneering s point of view Now that should be interesting


  2. Between the Leaves Between the Leaves says:

    The story setting alternates between colonial Hong Kong and London in the period prior to Hong Kong s independence from Britain It s primarily a love story between Betty Mackintosh, who was raised in a Japanese internment camp after losing her parents and Raj orphan, Teddy Feathers.I was captivated from the start of the book by the author s witty, almost flippant style woven into scenes of deep emotion Betty s confidences to her friends about the proposal she has received from eminent lawyer, Teddy, and their advice to her, make for amusing reading.Superficially Teddy seems socially na ve, uncommunicative, work obsessed, but attractive and principled, and makes Betty promise never to leave him Her sweet, uncomplicated manner wins over everyone she meets, including Teddy She agrees to marry him, even though she knows the marriage will be convenient rather than passionate.The mood changes subtly in the second half of the book Gone is the easy, light hearted mood, and what unfolds between them is a complex situation, complicated further by manipulative friends and an ending I didn t see coming There are twists and turns, beautiful prose, English manners and clever plotting and I enjoyed the read My annoyance and disappointment at one of the main characters is probably an indication of my involvement and empathy with the innocent party This is apparently the third book by Jane Gardam in which she uses Teddy Feathers as a main character.


  3. Patto Patto says:

    This is true literature moving, thought provoking, oddly humorous, utterly riveting and the strangest love story I ve ever read.A technical tour de force as well, the novel is the backstory of Gardam s earlier book, OLD FILTH That book describes a marriage from the point of view of the husband Sir Edward Feathers Here, we get the story from his wife Betty s perspective.Both have had shocking experiences early in life, he a Raj orphan abandoned by his father and otherwise mistreated, she a survivor of a Japanese internment camp in Shanghai Betty agrees to marry Edward because he s a brilliant advocate, getting richer every day, wildly handsome and thoroughly good An hour later she meets his arch rival, advocate Terry Veneering, and falls passionately in love Ironies abound as their lives unfold from this point.The man in the wooden hat is Edward s best friend eccentric Chinese dwarf and mysterious power in international law who becomes a kind of terrifying manifestation of Betty s conscience.Gardam perfectly captures the poignant imperfection of humankind Her characters develop under the sensuous influence of exotic places and the chilling influence of the very best British society Awash in guilt and unspoken conflicts, Sir Feathers and his wife often manage to be happy Anyone who has ever had a contrary impulse should find this book rather cheering.I d recommend reading OLD FILTH first, then quickly leaping into THE MAN WITH THE WOODEN HAT.