Filth fut pendant des années un avocat international de renom à Hong Kong. Mais il fut aussi un de ces enfants appelés « Orphelins du Raj » né dans l'empire britannique en Malaisie et rapatrié tout jeune en Angleterre pour être éduqué. En déroulant sa vie ainsi que celle de sa femme Betty, Jane Gardam nous raconte la gloire de l'empire, la Seconde Guerre mondiale jusqu'au début du XXIe siècle. Mais elle réussit aussi à éclairer la complexité de son héros que l'on appelle alternativement Eddie, le juge, fevvers, Filth, le maître de l'Inner Temple et sir Edward Feathers. « Un véritable chef d'oeuvre, l'un des romans les plus émouvants que j'aie lu depuis des années. » The Guardian Traduit de l'anglais par Françoise Adelstain
Le maître des apparences racontait l'histoire de sir Edward (Eddie) Feathers alias le vieux Filth, son enfance coloniale, sa carrière d'avocat international à Hong Kong, son mariage, ses amis et ses rivaux. Le choix de Betty tisse la même histoire mais vue par sa femme Betty. Orpheline dans les camps japonais, jeune fille non conformiste recrutée pour casser les codes à Bletchley Park, Betty a ses propres passions secrètes et ce n'est pas un hasard si Veneering, le rival détesté de Filth au barreau, exerce sur elle une puissante attraction. Traduit de l'anglais par Françoise Adelstain
Le Maître des apparences et Le Choix de Betty racontaient avec une tendresse caustique et un humour noir la vie d'un grand avocat de Hong Kong, le Vieux Filth, et de sa femme, l'intelligente et incomprise Betty. L'Éternel rival, dernier volume de cette trilogie, s'attache à Terence Veneering, le grand rival de Filth au travail aussi bien qu'en amour - même s'ils n'en ont jamais parlé. Veneering, Filth et les autres, ce sont autant d'histoires d'amour, d'amitié, de séduction, les récits d'expériences douces-amères du temps révolu de l'Empire, le constat des déceptions et des consolations de la vieillesse. Traduit de l'anglais par Françoise Adelstain
The New York Times called Sir Edward Feathers one of the most memorable characters in modern literature. A lyrical novel that recalls his fully lived life, Old Filth has been acclaimed as Jane Gardam?s masterpiece, a book where life and art merge. And now that beautiful, haunting novel has been joined by a companion that also bursts with humor and wisdom: The Man in the Wooden Hat.
Old Filth was Eddie?s story. The Man in the Wooden Hat is the history of his marriage told from the perspective of his wife, Betty, a character as vivid and enchanting as Filth himself.
They met in Hong Kong after the war. Betty had spent the duration in a Japanese internment camp. Filth was already a successful barrister, handsome, fast becoming rich, in need of a wife but unaccustomed to romance. A perfect English couple of the late 1940s.
As a portrait of a marriage, with all the bittersweet secrets and surprising fulfillment of the 50-year union of two remarkable people, the novel is a triumph. The Man in the Wooden Hat is fiction of a very high order from a great novelist working at the pinnacle of her considerable power. It will be read and loved and recommended by all the many thousands of readers who found its predecessor, Old Filth, so compelling and so thoroughly satisfying.
Jane Gardam reveals again her brilliant diversity and deep understanding of the human condition. In 'Light', an evocative, lyrical piece of magic realism, a beautiful Himalayan girl defies the destiny laid out for her by her mother, but in so doing destroys the village in which she was born. In 'Missing the Midnight', a young woman having failed her exams and lost the man she loves, journeys home to the family she despises, on Christmas Eve. In 'Grace', an apparently ordinary man lives his whole life with a diamond under his skin at the back of his neck, and dies when it is finally removed. Jane Gardam weaves strange and magical occurrences into the fabric of beautifully realised lives in this stunning collection.
"Jane Gardam's beautiful, vivid and defiantly funny novel is a must." The Times "Gardam's superb new novel is surely her masterpiece . . . one of the most moving fictions I have read in years . . . This is the rare novel that drives its readers forward while persistently waylaying and detaining by the sheer beauty and inventiveness of it style." The Guardian "The Whitbread winner scores again with a compelling novel based, in part, on the early life of Rudyard Kipling." Time Out Sir Edward Feathers has progressed from struggling young barrister to wealthy expatriate lawyer to distinguished retired judge, living out his last days in comfortable seclusion in Dorset. The engrossing and moving account of his life, from birth in colonial Malaya, to Wales, where he is sent as a "Raj orphan," to Oxford, his career and marriage, parallels much of the 20th century's torrid and twisted history.
Old Filth was nominated for the 2005 Orange Prize.
This delightful novel describes the post-war summer of 1946 - and follows the growing-up of three young women in the months between leaving school and taking up their scholarships at university. Una Vane, whose widowed mother runs a hairdressing salon in her front room ('Maison Vane Glory - Where Permanent Waves are Permanent'), goes bicycling with Ray, the boy who delivers the fish and milk. Hetty Fallowes struggles to become independent of her possessive, loving, tactless mother. And Lieselotte Klein, who had arrived in 1939 on a train from Hamburg, uncovers tragedy in the past and magic in the present.
Rooted in the north of England, THE FLIGHT OF THE MAIDENS is peopled with extraordinary characters, who are evoked with all the humour, compassion and eye for detail that mark Jane Gardam as one of Britain's most gifted and original novelists.
A delightful short story from Jane Gardam, revisting that Titan of the Hong Kong law courts, Edward Feathers (known to many as Old Filth) in the days after he loses his beloved wife, Betty.
Throughout her career, prize-winning novelist Jane Gardam has been writing glorious short stories, each one hallmarked with all the originality, poignancy, wry comedy and narrative brilliance of her longer fiction.
Passion and longing, metamorphosis and enchantment are Gardam's themes, and like a magician she plucks them from the quietest of corners: from Wimbledon gardens and cold churches, from London buses and industrial backstreets. A mother watching her children on the beach dreams of a long-lost lover, an abandoned army wife sees a ghost at a moorland gate, a translator adrift in Geneva is haunted by the unspeakable manifestation of her own fears, and a colonial servant wreaks a delicious revenge on her monstrous masters. Gardam's cast is wide and wonderful, saints and mystics, trollops and curmudgeons, yearning mothers and lost children, beloved figures such as Old Filth and less familiar - but equally unforgettable - characters like Signor Settimo, the sad-eyed provincial photographer marooned in Shipley or Florrie Ironside, the ferocious matron he seduces.
With a mischievous ear for dialogue, a glittering eye for detail and a capacious understanding of the vagaries of the human heart, Jane Gardam's stories will captivate, sadden and delight.
In 1904, when she was six, Polly Flint went to live with her two holy aunts at the yellow house by the marsh - so close to the sea that it seemed to toss like a ship, so isolated that she might have been marooned on an island. And there she stayed for eighty-one years, while the century raged around her, while lamplight and Victorian order became chaos and nuclear dread. Crusoe's Daughter, ambitious, moving and wholly original, is her story.
Filth (Failed In London, Try Hong Kong) is a successful lawyer when he marries Elisabeth in Hong Kong soon after the War. Reserved, immaculate and courteous, Filth finds it hard to demonstrate his emotions. But Elisabeth is different - a free spirit. She was brought up in the Japanese Internment Camps, which killed both her parents, but left her with a lust for survival and an affinity with the Far East. No wonder she is attracted to Filth's hated rival at the Bar - the brash, forceful Veneering. Veneering has a Chinese wife and an adored son - and no difficulty whatsoever in demonstrating his emotions . . .
How Elisabeth turns into Betty and whether she remains loyal to stolid Filth or swept up by caddish Veneering, make for a page-turning plot, in a perfect novel which is full of surprises and revelations, as well as the humour and eccentricites for which Jane Gardam's writing is famous.
Long ago, Old Filth was a Raj orphan - one of the many young children sent 'Home' from the East to be fostered and educated in England. Jane Gardam's novel tells his story, from his birth in what was then Malaya to the extremities of his old age. In so doing, she not only encapsulates a whole period from the glory days of British Empire, through the Second World War, to the present and beyond, but also illuminates the complexities of the character known variously as Eddie, the Judge, Fevvers, Filth, Master of the Inner Temple, Teddy and Sir Edward Feathers.