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Indie Next ListNovember 2009
A classy tale of the marriage of an English couple in the Far East. Idealistic and romantic, Betty and her husband find their ways through life, carrying secrets from their pasts back and forth between Hong Kong and England. It's a slim novel that covers a lot of ground, and Gardam's stylish prose gets to the heart of this fascinating relationship. -- Valerie Koehler, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
The New York Times called Sir Edward Feathers one of the most memorable characters in modern literature. A lyrical novel that recalls his fully lived life, "Old Filth" has been acclaimed as Jane Gardam's masterpiece, a book where life and art merge. And now that beautiful, haunting novel has been joined by a companion that also bursts with humor and wisdom: "The Man in the Wooden Hat."
"Old Filth" was Eddie's story. "The Man in the Wooden Hat" is the history of his marriage told from the perspective of his wife, Betty, a character as vivid and enchanting as Filth himself.
They met in Hong Kong after the war. Betty had spent the duration in a Japanese internment camp. Filth was already a successful barrister, handsome, fast becoming rich, in need of a wife but unaccustomed to romance. A perfect English couple of the late 1940s.
As a portrait of a marriage, with all the bittersweet secrets and surprising fulfillment of the 50-year union of two remarkable people, the novel is a triumph. "The Man in the Wooden Hat" is fiction of a very high order from a great novelist working at the pinnacle of her considerable power. It will be read and loved and recommended by all the many thousands of readers who found its predecessor, "Old Filth," so compelling and so thoroughly satisfying.