The Man In The Wooden Hat (Paperback)Jane Gardam (author)
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'It's a cliche to compare novelists to Jane Austen, but in the case of Jane Gardam it happens to be true. Her diamond-like prose, her understanding of the human heart, her formal inventiveness and her sense of what it is to be alive - young, old, lonely, in love - never fades' Amanda Craig
'Her work, like Sylvia Townsend Warner's, has that appealing combination of elegance, erudition and flinty wit' Patrick Gale
Filth (Failed In London, Try Hong Kong) is a successful lawyer when he marries Elisabeth in Hong Kong soon after the War. Reserved, immaculate and courteous, Filth finds it hard to demonstrate his emotions. But Elisabeth is different - a free spirit. She was brought up in the Japanese Internment Camps, which killed both her parents but left her with a lust for survival and an affinity with the Far East. No wonder she is attracted to Filth's hated rival at the Bar - the brash, forceful Veneering. Veneering has a Chinese wife and an adored son - and no difficulty whatsoever in demonstrating his emotions . . .
How Elisabeth turns into Betty and whether she remains loyal to stolid Filth or is swept up by caddish Veneering, makes for a page-turning plot in a perfect novel which is full of surprises and revelations, as well as the humour and eccentricites for which Jane Gardam's writing is famous.
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 230 g
Dimensions: 130 x 199 x 19 mm
A supremely literary and youthful book * Sunday Times *
Gardam's writing is like painting on glass: vivid and translucent * Independent *
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 more 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 twice. ..On its own, The Man in the Wooden Hat is funny and affecting, but read alongside Old Filth, it's remarkable * New York Times *
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“A touching story”
I have to state at the outset that I love Jane Gardam's books, but haven't yet read the other FILTH books which maybe left me at a disadvantage. But I loved this book, its a touching story of love and the... More
“Rather dull unfortunately”
There is a companion novel (Old Filth) to this book which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize so I began reading this with some high expectations. Unfortunately the story just did not grab me at all. Set in the early... More
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