The Stories

by Jane Gardam

I couldn’t resist downloading these short stories, after finishing the second book in the ‘Old Filth’ series.  Garden’s prose is beautifully crafted, and her characters are closely observed and poignant.

So far I have read about half of the stories.  I don’t want them to end too soon, so I am taking a break!

The Introduction itself contains a powerful story – that of how Gardam came to be a writer in the first place.  It is a wonderful little anecdote, which shows that her career was launched through a combination of chance encounters and sheer pluck. And her summing up at the end of the introduction shows us just how much she loves her craft, and why we love her for it:

“The luck in the writer’s life always is to have been ale to use the sweets of fiction to get near the truth.”

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The Man in the Wooden Hat

by Jane Gardam

The story of a ‘Old Filth’s wife Betty, told with affection, humour and economy of words. Gardam is a highly accomplished writer, giving away just enough information so that the reader can follow what is going on, but is still left guessing and filling in the gaps.

It is wonderful to see how the story and characters of ‘Old Filth’ are revived here, and introduced from a different angle, making them look fresh.

I picked this up in the library on a whim, and enjoyed it immensely. I will definitely try to read the third book in the series.