Old Filth

Old Filth

Book - 2006
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"Sir Edward Feathers has had a brilliant career, from his early days as a lawyer in Southeast Asia, where he earned the nickname Old Filth (FILTH being an acronym for Failed In London Try Hong Kong) to his final working days as a respected judge at the English bar. Yet through it all he has carried with him the wounds of a difficult and emotionally hollow childhood. Now an eighty-year-old widower living in comfortable seclusion in Dorset, Feathers is finally free from the regimen of work and the sentimental scaffolding that has sustained him throughout his life. He slips back into the past with ever mounting frequency and intensity, and on the tide of these vivid, lyrical musings, Feathers approaches a reckoning with his own history. Not all the old filth, it seems, can be cleaned away. Borrowing from biography and history, Jane Gardam has written a literary masterpiece reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling's Baa Baa, Black Sheep that retraces much of the twentieth century's torrid and momentous history. Feathers' childhood in Malaya during the British Empire's heyday, his schooling in pre-war England, his professional success in Southeast Asia and his return to England toward the end of the millennium, are vantage points from which the reader can observe the march forward of an eventful era and the steady progress of that man, Sir Edward Feathers, Old Filth himself, who embodies the century's fate."--Goodreads.com
Publisher: New York : Europa, 2006
Characteristics: 289 p. ; 21 cm
ISBN: 1933372133 (pbk.) : $14.95


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Jun 28, 2019

NYT Book review recommended by Denise Mina.

Sep 27, 2017

wonderful book....Old Filth is one of her best...if not the best!

Sep 21, 2017

I would concede that this book is well written but unfortunately the constant moving back and forth in time really interrupted the flow of the story for me.

Apr 19, 2017

Beautifully written. Very "Downton Abbey". There was sex and drugs and violence but it was conveyed in a very civilized manner. The upper class, for the most part, treat the dregs of the lower class with politeness and respect or they get their comeuppance - as it should be. People have to earn their station in life or they suffer for their mistakes. The next in the series is on it's way to me. Thank you Jane Gardam.

multcolib_susannel Jun 13, 2016

How did Malay-born Raj orphan Edward Feathers become a respected judge nicknamed Old Filth? This is his story.

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

Sir Edward Feathers, nicknamed Old Filth (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong), is a retired judge, an "orphan of the Raj" whose mother died in childbirth in Malaysia. A delightful man, we are told he is loved, admired and much discussed after his retirement by those who believed him to have had an unimaginative and uneventful life. It is not so. The novel is an exploration of his life, a detective story with a deep-buried murder - committed by a child - at its climax.

Dec 02, 2014

Wonderful new author for me. Well written and thoroughly good read.

Oct 30, 2014

'Old Filth' is Sir Edward Feathers nickname taken from the term 'failed in London, gone to Hong Kong,' a term used in the British Empire for those who never quite adapted to life back Home. He's a Raj orphan. This first book in the trilogy chronicles his life, which parallels much of the 20th century's major events. It's very funny and will have you wanting to read all three of Gardam's interconnected stories! Amazing.

Oct 08, 2014

Kipling would have loved this book about the British Raj as seen through an interesting character in his twilight years. Much better then the follow-up book.

Jul 29, 2014

patron review:

Fabulous story--1st in trilogy about a judge in Hong Kong who retires in England, his birth place.

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Jan 04, 2011

Filth is nickname of British retiree, former attorney, then judge, in Hong Kong. Acronym is Failed in London, try Hong Kong. His wife has recently died. Another judge has retired and moved next door, they always despised each other. Apparently, the wife had an affair with him. Sequel The Man in the Wooden Hat is wife's perspective.


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