Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cold Comfort Farm (by Stella Gibbons)

I always thought Cold Comfort Farm was a mental institution--possibly based on long-ago movie trailers? But it turns out it isn't! The novel seems to be a satirical comedy of manners, and there are some postmodern elements too (in an introduction, the author announces her intentions to put stars next to the best passages, which are laughably overwrought descriptions of scenery).

Of course the book wouldn't work if it was 100% satire and you didn't care about the eccentric cast of characters at all, and you do. They're just this side of totally ridiculous, and you do root for them in spite of yourself! Now I need to see the movie....

A little later, as she sat peacefully sewing, Adam came in from the yard. He wore, as a protection from the rain, a hat which had lost--in who knows what dim hintermath of time--the usual attributes of shape, colour, and size, and those more subtle race-memory associations which identify hats as hats, and now resembled some obscure natural growth, some moss or sponge or fungus, which had attached itself to a host." (Page 80)


Blogger Jana said...

I LOVE the movie. It does a great job of capturing both the earnestness of the heroine and the parody of "manners".

8:11 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

This is one of my favorite books. And the movie is pretty good, too (though not perfect.) I wonder what some of her other novels might be like.

3:12 PM  

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