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Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Stella Gibbons

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 110mm x 180mm x 16mm | 118g
  • Publication date: 4 July 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0241951518
  • ISBN 13: 9780241951514
  • Sales rank: 11,922

Product description

A hilarious and merciless parody of rural melodramas and one of the best-loved comic novels of all time, "Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons is beautifully repackaged as part of the "Penguin Essentials" range. 'We are not like other folk, maybe, but there have always been Starkadders at "Cold Comfort Farm"...' Sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste has been expensively educated to do everything but earn a living. When she is orphaned at twenty, she decides her only option is to descend on relatives - the doomed Starkadders at the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm. There is Judith in a scarlet shawl, heaving with remorse for an unspoken wickedness; raving old Ada Doom, who once saw something nasty in the woodshed; lustful Seth and despairing Reuben, Judith's two sons; and there is Amos, preaching fire and damnation to one and all. As the sukebind flowers, Flora takes each of the family in hand and brings order to their chaos. "Cold Comfort Farm" is a sharp and clever parody of the melodramatic and rural novel. "Very probably the funniest book ever written". ("Sunday Times"). "Screamingly funny and wildly subversive". (Marian Keyes, "Guardian"). "Delicious..." Cold Comfort Farm" has the sunniness of a P. G. Wodehouse and the comic aplomb of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop". ("Independent"). "One of the finest parodies written in English ...a wickedly brilliant skit". (Robert Macfarlane, "Guardian"). Stella Gibbons was born in London in 1902. She went to North London Collegiate School and studied journalism at University College, London. She then worked for ten years on various papers, including the "Evening Standard". Her first publication was a book of poems, "The Mountain Beast" (1930), and her first novel, "Cold Comfort Farm" (1932), won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize. Amongst her other novels are "Miss Linsey and Pa" (1936), "Nightingale Wood" (1938), "Westwood" (1946), "Conference at Cold Comfort Farm" (1949) and "Beside the Pearly Water" (1954). Stella Gibbons died in 1989.

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Author information

Stella Gibbons was born in London in 1902. She went to North London Collegiate School and studied journalism at University College, London. She then worked for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard. Her first publication was a book of poems, The Mountain Beast (1930), and her first novel, Cold Comfort Farm (1932), won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize. Amongst her other novels are Miss Linsey and Pa (1936), Nightingale Wood (1938), Westwood (1946), Conference at Cold Comfort Farm (1949) and Beside the Pearly Water (1954). Stella Gibbons died in 1989.

Customer reviews

By S Levy 01 Jul 2014 5

This is Stella Gibbons's first novel and arguably her best. It's a tale of a wonderfully dysfunctional family, told with magnificent imagery, immense humour and plenty of throwaway lines that make it wildly entertaining.

We cheer our heroine on as she sets about reforming the population of the farm and encouraging them to solve their own problems. The results are interesting. I'll say no more.

Where else will you read such prose as this?

"A thin wind snivelled among the rotting stacks of Cold Comfort, spreading itself in a sheet of flowing sound across the mossed tiles. Darkness whined with the soundless urge of growth in the hedges, but that did not help any."

I rest my case.

I strongly recommend the Penguin edition with its wonderful Introduction by Lynne Truss. And there is a Note before the author's Foreword that states: The action of the story takes place in the near future.

Review quote

Very probably the funniest book ever written Sunday Times Screamingly funny and wildly subversive -- Marian Keyes Guardian Delicious ... Cold Comfort Farm has the sunniness of a P. G. Wodehouse and the comic aplomb of Evelyn Waugh's Scoop' Independent One of the finest parodies written in English...a wickedly brilliant skit -- Robert Macfarlane Guardian