First in the Old Filth trilogy. A New York Times Notable Book. “Old Filth belongs in the Dickensian pantheon of memorable characters” (The New York Times Book Review).
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.
Borrowing from biography and history, Jane Gardam has written a literary masterpiece reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling’s “Baa Baa, Black Sheep” that retraces much of the twentieth century’s torrid and momentous history.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE
“Will bring immense pleasure to readers who treasure fiction that is intelligent, witty, sophisticated and—a quality encountered all too rarely in contemporary culture—adult.” —The Washington Post
“Gardam is an exquisite storyteller, picking up threads, laying them down, returning to them and giving them new meaning . . . Old Filth is sad, funny, beautiful and haunting.” —The Seattle Times
“A masterpiece of storytelling.” —The Dallas Morning News