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Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
This will be discussed online whilst in our homes courtesy of Zoom on Monday August 10th at 7.30pm. Please contact the coordinator Tricia by e-mail for more information email@example.com
One of the BBC’s ‘100 Novels that Shaped the World’
A Hay Festival and The Poole VOTE 100 BOOKS for Women Selection
A hilarious and merciless parody of rural melodramas and one of the best-loved comic novels of all time, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons is beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range.
‘We are not like other folk, maybe, but there have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm…’
Sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste has been expensively educated to do everything but earn a living. When she is orphaned at twenty, she decides her only option is to descend on relatives – the doomed Starkadders at the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm.
There is Judith in a scarlet shawl, heaving with remorse for an unspoken wickedness; raving old Ada Doom, who once saw something nasty in the woodshed; lustful Seth and despairing Reuben, Judith’s two sons; and there is Amos, preaching fire and damnation to one and all.
As the sukebind flowers, Flora takes each of the family in hand and brings order to their chaos.
Cold Comfort Farm is a sharp and clever parody of the melodramatic and rural novel.
‘Very probably the funniest book ever written’ Sunday Times
‘Screamingly funny and wildly subversive’ Marian Keyes, Guardian
‘Delicious … Cold Comfort Farm has the sunniness of a P. G. Wodehouse and the comic aplomb of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop’ Independent
‘One of the finest parodies written in English…a wickedly brilliant skit’ Robert Macfarlane, Guardian
Stella Gibbons was born in London in 1902. She went to North London Collegiate School and studied journalism at University College, London. She then worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard. Her first publication was a book of poems, The Mountain Beast(1930), and her first novel, Cold Comfort Farm (1932), won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize. Amongst her other novels are Miss Linsey and Pa (1936), Nightingale Wood (1938), Westwood (1946), Conference at Cold Comfort Farm (1949) and Beside the Pearly Water (1954). Stella Gibbons died in 1989.
The book after that:
Three Men in a Boat’ (1889) by Jerome K Jerome
A masterpiece of observational wit and side-splitting comic description, Jerome’s timeless tale of a trio of lovable wastrels on a jaunt down the Thames feels as fresh today as it did over a hundred years ago. Boring landmarks, vengeful swans and impenetrable mazes all get hilarious vignettes in this peerless humorous classic.
A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889, Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat includes an introduction and notes by Jeremy Lewis in Penguin Classics.
Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a ‘T’. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks – not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.’s small fox-terrier Montmorency. Three Men in a Boat was an instant success when it appeared in 1889, and, with its benign escapism, authorial discursions and wonderful evocation of the late-Victorian ‘clerking classes’, it hilariously captured the spirit of its age.
In his introduction, Jeremy Lewis examines Jerome K. Jerome’s life and times, and the changing world of Victorian England he depicts – from the rise of a new mass-culture of tabloids and bestselling novels to crazes for daytripping and bicycling.
Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) was born in Walstall, Staffordshire, and educated at Marylebone Grammar School. He left school at fourteen to become a railway clerk, the first in a long line of jobs that included actor, teacher and journalist. His first book, On Stage and Off, a collection of humorous pieces about the theatre, was published in 1885, and was followed the year after with the more commercially-successful The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow; but it was with Three Men in a Boat (1889) that Jerome achieved lasting fame. He later went on to become one of the founders of the humorous magazine, The Idler, and continued to write articles and plays.
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