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Firefly Paperback – October 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Beautiful... This moving novel pays tribute to a great talent as the curtain comes down, in prose that lingers like the echo of a good bay-side martini" Independent "What a lovely, clever book! Beautiful, wistful, just right" Julian Clary "Perfectly formed" -- Mark Sanderson Sunday Telegraph "This elegant novel imagines the final weeks of Noel Coward after he has retired...Jenkins' Coward is clever and cantankerous to the end" New Yorker "Beautifully observed" New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Janette Jenkins was born in Bolton, UK in 1965. She earned a degree in Literature and Philosophy and an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She wrote three novels prior to Firefly: Columbus Day, Another Elvis Love Child and Angel of Brooklyn. Her short stories have been featured in newspapers and anthologies, including Stand Magazine, and have been broadcast on Radio 4. She lives in Durham, UK.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609451406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609451400
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,319,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Coward sending off nasty things to Patrick, who does not fear his boss and returns his own bon mots.
John Rice
There is no power on earth that could convince me that Noël Coward in any time or place would be heard to utter the words: "Hell's bells."
little lady blue
For those who are already fans of Noel Coward, this book will be a bittersweet trip down memory lane as his life story unfolds.
Mary Whipple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
A professional dancer from the age of eleven, Noel Coward (1899 - 1973) spent the rest of his life in "show business" as a playwright (of thirty-nine plays), composer (of over three hundred songs and sixteen musicals and operettas), film maker (of fifteen adaptations of his plays), and actor-director-producer connected with two dozen additional productions. As this novel about his life opens, however, it is 1971, and he is seventy-two and dealing with an endless series of heart and lung problems, no doubt exacerbated by his constant smoking. Living for part of the year at Firefly, his Jamaican studio and retreat, he is attended by Patrice, a young local who is anxious to obtain a reference so that he can apply for a job at the Ritz in London.

Patrice becomes an anchor throughout this novel, a charming, naïve, and ingratiating young man who quickly elicits the reader's empathy and acts as a dramatic foil for Coward's petulance and impatience. It is Patrice who must convince Coward to walk around the swimming pool at least once or twice without stopping, as his daily exercise, something that Coward has promised Graham Payn, his life partner, that he will do. It is Patrice who walks the fine line between the testy (and often very ill) Coward and the rest of the world, and it is Patrice who accompanies Coward on little trips to town to the barber or the local bar.

As the narrative evolves, impressionistically, Coward's mind is seen wandering, and he frequently dozes off. He dreams of the Jazz Age and Gertrude Lawrence, and he sometimes relaxes by reading one of several children's books by E. Nesbit which he loved as a child and still enjoys reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Neufeld on February 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Noel Coward, at whose 70th birthday party at the Savoy I attended, was a great deal wittier, slier, more engaged than anything in
"Firefly." This novel does him a disservice, and further - does not enhance our understanding of Coward himself. Warmed over family memories, indistinct portraits of friends and lovers, and not an ounce of the real drive and push behind a man who could make us hum happily,could make us proud of England, could make the English proud of their armed forces. wonderful opportunity missed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Menzies on November 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
ms jenkins captures coward wonderfully in her book FIREFLY - and although it is a work of fiction, it reads as fact. it is a remarkable book. heartfelt and symapthetic. it portrays a coward i know exisited but has never been written about: querolous and anxious and fearful of being thought a fool, as he crumbles towards the end of one of the most spectacular lives of the 20th century.

ms jenkins's word imagery is magical "stars are fat and glittering" "bUzzing cape of flies" "gelatineous roll of her hips" "Empty matinee seats which look like lost teeth". I read it in one gulp..

she also captures to wit of one of the most unqiue men who ever existed - this is an extraodinary feat. asked by one of his servants if kent is near london, jenkins's coward replies "well, it's nearer than it used to be". - perfect - told the list of names someone was given at birth, the author's coward responds "it sounds like a shopping list" one can hear these and other
remarks she has coward say, in his clipped voice, as totally accurate and well-said. as well as well-written..

anyone who knew or is devoted to coward recogonizes the dry wit of the man re-created with unerring accuracy by the author of this lovely book .

as an author of a recent book on coward, i salute ms jenkins's achievement with wonder and awe.

i wish i had written FIREFLY, but i didn't. , but am awfully glad janette jenkins did! ..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By little lady blue on February 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
It would appear that Ms. Jenkins has limited to zero knowledge about (a) Noël Coward (b) Firefly or (c) Jamaica, so why she would choose to write this book I have no idea.

Because the novel is entitled `Firefly' I expected a story which would include a graceful description of `Firefly' - the tiny one bedroom cottage and the awe inspiring vistas. Not withstanding the austere simplicity of the house itself, the staggering, breathtaking beauty of `Firefly' may very well defy description, however, in the hands of a skilful author it can be done.
Not a speck of atmosphere is to be found in this book.

What I got was a picture of an aging used-to-be brilliant author/composer/actor/director/lyricist turned obstreperous old curmudgeon(maybe he was and maybe he wasn't, but that's not the point) drifting in and out of dreams of his past, including blatant, crude references to Coward's sexuality.

Even the writing is not fluid. In one paragraph you will find Coward in the present at `Firefly' and the next he is off in a dream of some youthful memory. It all runs together and is hard to follow.

There is no power on earth that could convince me that Noël Coward in any time or place would be heard to utter the words: "Hell's bells."

I know this book is fiction, but to use a real person and place the author at least owes the reader a true representation of both.

No one, from reading this book, will have the faintest idea of `Firefly', the place that Noël Coward loved above all else and a place that retains a magical glow you will not get from any photograph and, I admit, would be challenging to capture on paper.
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