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The Man in the Wooden Hat
     

The Man in the Wooden Hat

4.1 10
by Jane Gardam
 

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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:

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
Taken together, [Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat] are a British equivalent of Evan S. Connell's classics of Americana, Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge…As to Gardam's pair of novels, what the old song says about love and marriage must be said about them: You can't have one without the other. They are a set, his and hers. To my taste, they are absolutely wonderful, and I would find it impossible to choose one over the other. While Old Filth is principally about the man, his dark boyhood at the mercy of a distant, unfeeling father, with the wife a rather shadowy character in the background, The Man in the Wooden Hat fills in her side of the story, in the process revealing itself to be an astute, subtle depiction of marriage, with all its shared experiences and separate secrets.
—The Washington Post
Louisa Thomas
One of the few feats that's harder than doing justice to a complicated marriage is doing justice to it twice. The Man in the Wooden Hat revisits territory covered in Old Filth, but as Betty's story instead of Edward's. It's not necessary to have read the prior book to enjoy this one. If anything, The Man in the Wooden Hat makes the fractured plot and chronology of Old Filth easier to understand. Still, it's worth reading (or rereading) Old Filth. On its own, The Man in the Wooden Hat is funny and affecting, but read alongside Old Filth, it's remarkable. Gardam has attempted to turn a story inside out without damaging the original narrative's integrity—moving from black to white without getting stuck with gray. Little here is as it seemed in Old Filth, and both books are the richer for it.
—The New York Times
Library Journal
Edward Feathers, aka Old Filth (an acronym for "Failed in London, Try Hong Kong"), Gardam's proper lawyer and judge, is back for a second outing (after Old Filth), this time as seen through the eyes of his wife, Betty. Lately returned from her wartime work at Bletchley Park and now a regular among the expat community of Hong Kong, Betty is cocooned in comfortable gentility with Filth, a loving but distant husband largely preoccupied with his legal life. After a childhood spent in a Japanese labor camp, she is now unable to have children and largely unfocused; her brief premarital fling with Filth's arch enemy, Terry Veneering, creates an enduring bond with him and his young son, Harry, who fills a void in her life. VERDICT Admirers of Old Filth will be delighted to discover the backstory of his marriage and to renew acquaintances with a dear friend. Those meeting him and Mrs. Feathers for the first time will surely want more. An elegant portrait of an old-world marriage. Highly recommended.—Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609450335
Publisher:
Europa
Publication date:
10/27/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
115,054
File size:
355 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Maureen Corrigan
"The best contemporary British writer you probably haven't yet heard of."--(Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air)\

Meet the Author

Jane Gardam has twice won the Whitbread Award, for The Hollow Land, and Queen of the Tambourine. She is also the author of God on the Rocks, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and most recently, Faith Fox.

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Man in the Wooden Hat 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
readerbdj More than 1 year ago
JANE GARDAM is one of my favorite writers. This book, as in all of her books, Gardam's characters are charming and conventional, or are they. This story is the wife's point of view of a marriage, the declining English empire, and its people, primarily ex-pats. In combination with OLD FILTH, the husband's perspective of the same issues, both books explore the niavIete of youth, the realities of life, and reflections of old age. Another companion book to consider is THE PEOPLE of PRIVILEGE HILL, still more about Betty and Edward Feathers. After that read all the books you can find by Jane Gardam, especially, QUEEN OF THE TAMBOURINE, GOD ON THE ROCKS and THE FLIGHT OF THE MAIDENS.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed continuation of story of Old Filth
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As the second in this trilogy following OLD FILTH it tells the story through BETTY , the wife's point of view! Old Filth, (failed-in-London-try-HongKong) is a RAj Orphan sent to Wales for his education and childhood. Wonderful character development in this "coming of age" novel that flows back and forth from his elderly years to his past. Now in THE MAN IN THE WOODED HAT we see Betty's side of the story which brings some surprises into the picture. Very British.....good storyline and well written....now looking forward to the third....from BEtty's lover's point of view.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love-my-NookNJ More than 1 year ago
This is Betty's (the wife of Old Filth) story. Wonderfully written, funny and heat warming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago