Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday Intro: Old Filth


The Donheads
He was spectacularly clean. You might say ostentatiously clean. His ancient fingernails were rimmed with purest white. The few still-gold hairs below his knuckles looked always freshly shampooed, as did his curly still-bronze hair. His shoes shone like conkers. His clothes were always freshly pressed. He had the elegance of the 1920s, for his garments, whatever they looked like off, always became him. Always a Victorian silk handkerchief in the breast pocket. Always yellow cotton or silk socks from Harrod's; and some still perfect from his old days in the East. His skin was clear and, in poor light, young.
Old Filth
by Jane Gardam

A couple of days ago I began reading Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen  by Mary Norris. It's a new hardcover from the library. As I've also developed a fondness for reading in the pool (on one of those comfy floating chairs), library books are an obvious contraindication.

I bought a paperback copy of Old Filth  at a library sale a year or two ago. In addition, I have an audio version, which I scored during a Buy One, Get One sale at audible.  I love that description of Old Filth {though I had to google conker - it's the seed of a horse chestnut} and look forward to getting to know him better. Think I'll get started later today.

Here is the goodreads summary:
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.
What do you think? Would you keep reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

46 comments:

  1. I tend to like books about folks looking back upon their lives. I also love the descriptiveness of the opening paragraph that you posted. I would keep reading this.

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    1. Brian Joseph - I find that I enjoy 'looking book and reflecting on life' books more with each passing year ;-)

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  2. Sounds interesting, though I don't know about the history of his life on the English bar. Might it be stuffy?

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    1. Harvee - I'm hoping there is not an awful lot about that...

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  3. I'm not sure this one's for me, but hope you enjoy it!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. I've been wanting to read this author for several years.

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  4. Hmmm...I don't think that this one is for me. However, hope it's a good read for you. I've heard a few others talking about it.

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    1. Kay - I've got a couple of Gardam's books on my shelf... hope I like her writing.

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  5. I like the opening of this. Hope you're loving Mary Norris.

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    1. Beth F - Comma Queen is very good so far!

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  6. Another writer we have in common (except that I haven't actually started any of her books)... I love the idea of reading while floating the pool. That sounds like heaven!

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    1. Audrey - We have that in common, too, since I've only read a few pages. Her earlier novel, God on the Rocks, is on my shelf, too.

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  7. I also am cautious about books at the pool or the beach. I try to pick up some cheap paperbacks from the library book fair so I can consider them disposable and toss them when I am through, if necessary.
    Not sure this book is for me, but I hope you enjoy it!
    I've never read any of these, but at least five of them are on my list. I'd forgotten all about 'Back Channel'.
    Today I'm featuring Orphan #8

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    1. Kim - That's exactly how I feel. If I'm reading a used paperback, then it's disposable. I've only read a couple of pages, but look forward to more.

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  8. Love Jane Gardam! Once you finish Old Filth, you must read The Man in the Wooden Hat ...... written from the wife's point of view. Old Friends completes the trilogy. Gardam is a marvel to behold! 😊

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    1. JudyMac - This is a trilogy? I tend to avoid series, but seem to be on a roll this year... Trollope, Ferrante, and now this! LOL! I really liked the first several pages of Old Filth. God on the Rocks is on my shelf, too.

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    2. Oh yes, a trilogy! You will really appreciate his long-suffering wife, Betty, once you have read The Man in the Wooden Hat. The books are far more romantic than you can probably imagine now. The Stories of Jane Gardam came out in 2014, which I will eventually read I'm sure.

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    3. JudyMac - Excellent! I will read Ferrante's final Neopolitan Novel when it is released in September, finish the last two of Trollope's Barsetshire Chronicles this fall and then I'll have a new 'project' to look forward to... now I'm excited :)

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  9. He sounds like quite the character. A great picture is forming in my head.

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    1. Emma - I almost have to laugh at the picture in my mind! Looking forward to learning more about Old Filth!

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  10. Sounds like a wonderful read...and I love the acronym. I must get hold of a copy.

    My Tuesday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2015/07/first-chapter-first-paragraph-113.html

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    1. Catherine - The beginning is very promising!

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  11. I will keep reading! The Old Filth trilogy that I purchased with the best of intentions of starting immediately is still staring back at me from the shelves. Thanks for the push. I hope you enjoy it!

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    1. Frances - Well you're one step ahead of me... I didn't even realize it was a trilogy when I bought it. The opening is wonderful!

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  12. I am so glad you defined "conkers" for us. I hadn't a clue what that was. I've been hearing about this book over the past couple weeks and it's piqued my curiosity. I hope you enjoy this one!

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    1. Literary Feline - I hope it's not a bad sign that I was looking up words in the first paragraph ;-)

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  13. I would definitely keep reading! I haven't heard of this book or this author but it sounds interesting. I love the idea of reading in the pool on a float but haven't been able to make it happen quite yet!

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    1. Katherine - My back was killing me after sorting and moving book boxes Saturday morning... about all I could do was float in the pool. Very decadent ;-)

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  14. I love the intro! I haven't read any books by this author, but I'm adding her to my list!

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    1. Monica - I hope the rest of the book is as engaging as the opening.

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  15. Sounds like it will definitely take you to another world. Here's Mine

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  16. Wow, I like the sound of this one...and I've never heard of it, so thanks for sharing! And thanks for visiting my blog.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - This is another author I learned about from other book bloggers. It's off to a strong start!

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  17. The title immediately grabbed my attention, and I like the first paragraph a lot. I would certainly keep reading. The writing looks good, and the description looks as though it's leading to something I can't put my finger on.

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    1. Kathy - I know what you mean... that ultra-cleanness must be an important personality trait, or indicative of something deeper!

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  18. I've never heard of this one before and I do like the first paragraph.

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    1. Cleo - It conjure up quite an image, doesn't it? Looking forward to learning more about him.

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  19. Very descriptive opening, I love the "elegance of the 1920s" part. I saw this book pop up somewhere else recently. Sounded interesting!

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    1. Diana - The 1920s get me every time, too!

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  20. Very interesting description of this guy. Irt makes me want to know more about him. I also like the title. Hard to forget that one. (I also had to look up conkers. I'm going to use it for a Wondrous Words post.)

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    1. Margot - If I had to look up a word in the first paragraph, I may need to start participating in Wondrous Words Wednesday, too ;-)

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  21. I love the direction this one seems headed, and I even have this one on my shelf.

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    1. Diane - I already think I'm going to love this book!

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  22. I really like the opening, but the synopsis just doesn't grab me.

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    1. Carol - I like the opening more than the synopsis, too, but I have high hopes for this books.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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