“Without memory and desire life is pointless.”
Sir Edward Feathers, known by some as Old “FILTH” (short for Failed in London, Try Hong Kong), is a cantankerous old gentleman. When we first meet him as a retired distinguished judge, he and his wife have returned to England. Nearing 80, a surviving “Raj orphan” and a world-class character, Feathers looks back at his life and begins a final, quixotic round of goodbyes. Published in 2004, author Jane Gardam was 84 by the time she finished the next two books of a trilogy that begins with this novel. The writing of this brilliant book makes it ‘a must read choice.’
As a young man, arriving off the train in Oxford, here is an example of why I love this writer and her work.
“Out from clouds sprang a great white moon and showed pavements and roads of snow, sleeping buildings, spires and domes all stroked by dappling snow. There was not a soul, not a light and not a cry…He walked exalted, his feet light and the moon came and went, and then soft flakes began to fall. He looked back and saw his footprints already soften by the snow, the snow ahead of him waiting to be imprinted. He had strayed into medieval Oxford like a ghost.”