Friday, August 14, 2015

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #89

It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring Old Filth by Jane Gardam, which I borrowed from the library. 

Old Filth 
BeginningPart One
Scene:  Inner Temple
The Benchers' luncheon-room of the Inner Temple.  Light pours through the long windows upon polished table, silver, glass.  A number of Judges and Benchers finishing lunch.  One chair has recently been vacated and the Benchers are looking at it. 
Page 56:  "'On sped the car.  When they reached main roads conversation ceased."
My thoughts: Sir Edward Feathers is the title character, Old Filth.  His fascinating life and career unfold in the pages of this novel, which is the first book of a trilogy.
From GoodreadsSir Edward Feathers has had a brilliant career, from his early days as a lawyer in Southeast Asia, where he earned the nickname Old Filth (FILTH being an acronym for Failed In London Try Hong Kong) to his final working days as a respected judge at the English bar. Yet through it all he has carried with him the wounds of a difficult and emotionally hollow childhood. Now an eighty-year-old widower living in comfortable seclusion in Dorset, Feathers is finally free from the regimen of work and the sentimental scaffolding that has sustained him throughout his life. He slips back into the past with ever mounting frequency and intensity, and on the tide of these vivid, lyrical musings, Feathers approaches a reckoning with his own history. Not all the old filth, it seems, can be cleaned away.

Borrowing from biography and history, Jane Gardam has written a literary masterpiece reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling's
Baa Baa, Black Sheep that retraces much of the twentieth century's torrid and momentous history. Feathers' childhood in Malaya during the British Empire's heyday, his schooling in pre-war England, his professional success in Southeast Asia and his return to England toward the end of the millennium, are vantage points from which the reader can observe the march forward of an eventful era and the steady progress of that man, Sir Edward Feathers, Old Filth himself, who embodies the century's fate.
Which book are you reading now or about to start?

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings #89 was originally published by Catherine for This post cannot be republished without attribution.  Retweeting and sharing on Google+ are encouraged and appreciated.

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