Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons

Stella Gibbons is a comic author in the style of Nancy Mitford. Writers like Gibbons and Mitford are not in that upper echelon of authors, those who we are likely to be told to study at school or read for our own improvement. But how much fun they are to read!

They say writers should stick to writing about what they know. Gibbons obviously does that, and it gives her novel a refreshing feel. All the people she writes about you get the sense she has met in one guise or another.

The novel details Flora Poste’s arrival at Cold Comfort Farm and her fixing up of everyone’s (what she perceives to be at least) problems. If you met Flora Poste in person you’d probably find her a bit overbearing and up herself. But in print you just love her witticisms and snobbery. I wanted to be her friend.

My favourite character was Mr Mybug, an author who is working on a biography of Branwell Bronte. His theory is that it was the sisters who were drunks, and not Branwell. (There was a theory popular at the time that Emily could not possibly have written Wuthering Heights.)

This is the sort of book you look forward to reading.

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