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Snobs: A Novel Paperback – May 8, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250020360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250020369
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wodehouse gets a modern twist in this brilliantly acerbic tale of snobbery and marital tomfoolery in 1990s London. Our nameless protagonist, a jovial, perceptive sort of 30-something fellow hanging affably about the fringes of society, introduces his middle-class but sleek and beautiful friend Edith Lavery to the earnest but dull Lord Charles Broughton. Much to the dismay of "civilized" society, Charles falls in love and proposes to the social-climbing but largely indifferent Edith. Even after she is married, Edith is snubbed and humiliated at every turn (in the slyest, politest possible way, of course), until she moves out in a huff with her married lover, Simon Russell, an actor/ego-on-legs who is eating up the publicity that comes with being seen with a countess and eager for this entrée into society (he doesn't realize Edith has been cast into the societal dung heap). To Edith's consternation, the glittering world of theater turns out to be just as small-minded and dull as that of society, with the added disadvantage of it not involving much money. Gossipy and dishy, this debut by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Gosford Park is a merciless and hilarious sendup of snobbery and social jealousy, revealing the pettiness and self-absorption of both the envious and the envied.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

Fellowes, a late bloomer who wrote the script for "Gosford Park," again portrays the British upper class in his début novel. One Edith Lavery marries up, snagging the Earl of Broughton, a man who lives for his country estates and thanks his wife after each of their brief sexual encounters. Edith soon takes up with a handsome actor and runs for cover from her mother-in-law, the formidable Googie. The polite firefights that ensue are very readable, but their presentation is somewhat muddled. Fellowes, who, the dust jacket reveals, has a son named Peregrine and a dachshund named Fudge, may identify too closely with this social stratum. Although he convincingly portrays the habits of the entitled, they escape the skewering that the title leads us to expect. The result is a watered-down satire that eventually becomes an apologia for Edwardian England, where everyone knew his place and no one was tacky.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Julian Fellowes has had an illustrious career in film, theatre, television and literature. Among his many screenplays are the Oscar-winning Gosford Park, The Young Victoria, and Vanity Fair. He has directed and performed in numerous films and television series, and his novels include the Sunday Times bestselling novel, Snobs. Julian lives in Dorset with his family.

Customer Reviews

Expecting something wonderful with surprising twists in an interesting story line from Julian Fellowes I found it boring.
Quo Vadis?
This book is great fun--and a true insider's observations on why the mores/manners of the British Aristos/upper class are so amusing--especially to us Americans.
EBW
The book was very well written, with excellent insight into human character, never mean or low, full of subtle humor, and I was sad when it ended.
R. Leary

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on June 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If EM Forster had a modern day equivalant, he would go by the name Julian Fellowes. An Oscar winner for his wonderful screenplay of 'Gosford Park' this satiric stab at the upper crust of British society is great fun, and a pleasure to read. The nameless narrator, a witty actor and wry observationist, befriends Edith Lavery, an attractive if slightly average woman itching to move from her ho- hum existance to the Royal lap of luxury. What follows is her steep ascent and almost as rapid descent, told through various dinners and social gatherings where the elite go to play, or at the very least be seen. The whole time reading I felt I had been steeped in a Merchant Ivory picture, or was sitting with the cast of 'Four Weddings and A Funeral' as their voices bobbed through my head. The story is very simple, serving as a backdrop to the larger strokes he paints about class and society, much like Alan Hollinghurst's 'The Line of Beauty'. The difference between the two is in tone, where Hollinghurst's is bleak, this is like a breath of fresh air.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By El Briano on March 3, 2006
This book makes for great entertainment in its portrait of a way of life quite alien to most Americans, or known only to devotees of certain PBS fare. The English "aristocracy" retain a certain fascination, with their rituals and sense of "class", for the most part a matter of the lucky gene pool club rather than any real personal accomplishment. The author obviously feels an affinity for the aristocracy, notwithstanding the skewering he gives them. The book never quite has the feel of a "novel", although that hardly detracts from its entertainment value. On the whole, the book reads more like "new journalism", as the first person narrator for the most part describes, rather than creates, the characters, who are more than one-dimensional, but not quite three dimensional. The "form" tends to break down, as the author does not maintain consistent first person narration, but occasionally lapses into a conventional omniscient narrative, portraying incidents, conversations, etc. which the first person narrator could not have known. The most interesting character is Lady Uckfield, keeper of the flame, and it's a pity she was not the focus of the story rather than Charles and Edith, who emerge more as stereotypes than fully fleshed-out characters. The book is rich in trenchant observation and subtle wit, although the ending (I won't give it away) seems contrived and not up to the standard of the rest of the book. This would make a most delightful movie.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Gregory Baird VINE VOICE on March 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a big fan of Gosford Park I was absolutely thrilled when I heard that its award-winning screenwriter had released a novel. And what joy! 'Snobs' has all of the wit, honesty, and intrigue of Gosford Park without feeling at all like a retread. It is about Edith, a socially ambitious woman who marries into wealth and privilege; however, once she has achieved her dream she becomes restless and hopelessly bored with the life she has chosen. Her life spins into scandal and, possibly, redemption as Fellowes uncovers just how shallow our ambitions can be. The true success of 'Snobs' is that it doesn't feel critical of human nature, just honest. Fellowes' prose is a joy to read, being both light and humorous. I would highly recommend this book.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Critique that on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my flight back home, because (yes I must admit!) the cover art was very good. Fellowes' writing style is very tight and succinct, developing Edith in a character as comparable as the ruthless femme fatale of Thackerey's Vanity Fair. Her duplicity is remarkable, succeeding in even convincing herself of her 'innocent' intentions. I laughed through every page (amidst stares from fellow passengers whom I'm sure must've thought I'm mad...and the white jacket didn't help!!) but at the back of my mind it was shockingly apparent that it could hardly be fiction at all but a brutal satire, Fellowes' spars with his quill as brilliantly as Wilde and Voltaire did in their day. It is brilliantly, paradoxically done. Portraying stereotypes amidst the English aristocracy as simply two-dimensional but developing each character in such a way that adds a human dimension to the stereotyped characters we see in newspapers. Fellowes' adds an exquisite spin on an everyday English occurence and that is the gift of a brilliant artist, to make the ordinary appear extraordinary.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. F. Lestar Martin on November 4, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found "Snobs" a very slow read full of very boring people. I kept waiting for a purpose in the lives of the main characters and never found one. It could have been named "Boring Snobs." I am a lover of all things British, but this left me cold.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. Rhodes on March 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is an Anglophile's delight. If you are a fan of Masterpiece Theatre, Jane Austen, William Thackeray, Noel Coward, et al., then this is your perfect cup of tea.
SNOBS is immersed in the lives of the upper crust of British society and with those outsiders who desperately aspire to become a part of this rarified, privileged world. The plot centers upon the initially fortitious marriage of a beautiful, middle class young woman to a wealthy Earl from an illustrious British family. The Earl is earnest but dull and his new wife quickly tires of him and their lifestyle. Consequenly she creates a scandal by embarking on an affair with an extraordinarily handsome but callow, supercilious actor. This rather pedestrian, derivative plot is nonetheless made up for by Fellowes scintillating prose. He knows his territory well and provides the reader with an entertaining, clever and oh so sophisticated work.

The author's witty aphorisms concerning the upper set are exceptionally fun and insightful: "The English, of all classes as it happens, are addicted to exclusivity. Leave three Englishmen in a room and they will invent a rule that prevents a fourth joining them." "The upper classes are not, as a whole a complaining lot. As a group they would rather not 'go on about it'. A brisk walk and a stiff drink are their chosen methods of recovery whether struck in the heart or the wallet...it is not lack of feeling that marks them apart, rather it is a lack of expression of feeling." "The English always say you shouldn't have bothered to thank them, when, of all races on earth, they are the most unforgiving when one does not.
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