Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Book 35 of 50 for the New Author Challenge
Book 4 for the Classics Challenge

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cold Comfort Farm is a parody of the works of Mary Webb, Thomas Hardy, and DH Lawrence who wrote novels depicting rural British life in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Flora Poste is the heroine who travels to Sussex to live with her cousins, the Starkadders, after her parents die. She meets the completely oddball family including fairy-like Elfine, sad sack Reuben, and loony Judith. One she settles in, she decides that she is going to "tidy up" the farm including, not only the lives people who live and work there, but also the cows named Feckless, Graceless, Pointless, Aimless, and Big Business.

I liked the beginning and the end, but the middle really dragged for me. There were some moments that I found amusing, but really I think the cover has the funniest stuff on it. To be fair, I think it is hard for a parody of a bunch of authors I haven't read to seem terribly funny--although I did catch quite a lot of the Bronte and Austen references.

The book was written in 1932 and it is set in the future, after the "Anglo-Nicaraguan War" of 1946. This adds an extra strange element to the book with flying machines and videoconferencing definitely out of place, and the London neighborhoods of Mayfair becoming ghetto while the East End becomes fashionable.

The comedy in this book just didn't quite work for me. My overall impression of this book is that it is just...weird.

Also reviewed by:
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Source: BookMooch


Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I read this book several years ago and had the same reaction. I just didn't get it.

Booklogged said...

I had this on my wish list, but I think I'll remove it after reading your thoughts. I will check out the other two reviews you've linked.

Laura said...

Thanks for linking to my review! I agree with your thoughts; I was disappointed with this book. It had been heavily hyped and just didn't live up to my expectations.

Charley said...

This book is on my list, although I know nothing about it. I didn't realize it's a parody, or that it was written in 1932. Maybe it's the cover image, but I thought it was a more modern book.

Veens said...

This sounds real weird!

Corinne said...

Here's the thing: I feel in love with the movie back in college, so when I read the book, I LOVED IT. LOVED. It slayed me. I am wondering if that's because I already "got" it and could see Rufus Sewell in my head as I read???

Jeanette said...

This book has been on my list to read for years. I'll probably still give it a read one of these days but who knows when. :-)

Michelle said...

My advice for anyone considering this is to skip the book & check out the movie. I watched it a few years ago and LOVED it. Incredibly well timed humor.

You're spot on about the book: there are clever moments, but they are surrounded by loooong periods of dull narrative. I'm grateful for your & the validation of my previous opinions.

Karenlibrarian said...

I also saw the movie first and loved it. I read the book a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, but maybe it's because I saw he movie first and was imagining it as I read. Evelyn Waugh wrote some great satire -- Decline and Fall is hilarious -- but you should really check out Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. That's one of the funniest books I've ever read, hands down.