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Starred Review. Listeners will have little trouble believing that reader Morant was born into the rarified world that serves as the setting for this gossipy tale. He narrates with the lightest of touches, truisms about the English upper crust rolling off his tongue with powerful understatement. Fellowes is the author of the Oscar Award–winning screenplay Gosford Park, and his deliciously satiric debut highlights the foibles and snobbery of the contemporary British upper classes. Morant effortlessly embodies the narrator, a jovial unnamed actor content to remain an observer of his own social class, and he does an equally fine job portraying the people under the narrator's purview. With the proper blend of disdain and understanding, Morant gives voice to the social-climbing Edith Lavery, who marries to advance herself, but his interpretation of Edith's mother-in-law, Lady Uckfield, trumps even this achievement. As Fellowes explains, "Googie" always speaks in an intimate, girlish tone, as if she's letting one in on savory gossip, but listeners don't have to take his word for it. Morant tackles this delicious characteristic with gusto while still revealing the three-dimensional character underneath.
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.
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.
What a fun summer read! I had not realized who Julian Fellowes is until I read the bio. As soon as I finished reading it I downloaded his other novel onto my Kindle. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Janelle Salon
If you're an anglophile and love England you will like this insider's look at the English aristocracy. Read morePublished 1 month ago by 66andkickin
This is one of my all time favourite books. I have an earlier edition and it is now falling apart it has been read so much. Read morePublished 1 month ago by NZSarah72
Wonderfully written. A great social critique, caustic and accurate. The author knows his subject matter well.Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Danvers
A fun and easy read, and the nuances of the English class system are portrayed with extreme accuracy and humour.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Having spent 5 years in an English boarding school in the mid 60's, and been invited to many a country home for an exeat weekend, I could relate to a lot in the book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by jane
I loved reading this book, after getting past the snobbishness of the writer himself. (yes, he is a snob too! Read morePublished 3 months ago by wabisabi927
Took me a while to get into this book, but, enjoyed it by the end. Read it because I am a Downton Abbey fan. I probably won't get another book by the same author.... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mrs. O