Catching Up (Cold Comfort Farm)

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since the Readathon.  It’s been a busy month, without a lot of reading, but still.  Unfortunately too busy to join in Beowulf readalong, which would’ve been good as I have long meant to read it and it’s so much easier with others.  Worse, I bombed out of the Trollope reading.  I started The Way We Live Now which I enjoyed the beginning of, but only got maybe 100 pages in.  Instead I read The House Without a Key – the first Charlie Chan novel, which is based on a real Chinese/Hawaiian police detective.  This could be my theme for the year:  Chinese detectives based on real people, except I don’t know if there are any more.   Also, tomorrow is the Minithon.   I shouldn’t join in, but I believe I will.   Maybe I’ll make some progress on something.   At least I can eat mini food.   That’s always a plus.

So, I read for the Readathon – Cold Comfort Farm, a book recommended to me a million years ago which has a movie based on it I highly recommend.  It is a parody of the sort of literature I loathe and never read, but you don’t need to read it to get it, I don’t think.   I saw Precious Bane on TV decades ago and that was more than enough.   The book is quite a bit like the movie except for one confusing aspect.   It was published in 1932 and seems to take place in that year until you get to a point where it mentions a television phone.   Out of the blue, a television phone.   Shaking my head I read on until I got to the Anglo-Nicaraguan War of ’46.   This was too confusing.   This made the speaker in question about 90 years old if it was 1846, which I thought it had to be, but no.   CCF is set in the near future although there are only maybe 3 sentences in the entire book which give a clue to that and they make no sense because there was no Anglo-Nicaraguan war of ’46.   But thanks to Wikipedia I learned the book is set in a nebulous future which was really nothing at all like the future and almost exactly like the time in which it was written.


The thing to do is ignore those few references and just picture them in 1932.   Easy to do as there is no point whatever in having set it in the future and someone should have talked her out of it.   Otherwise, a delightful read in which young Flora, setting out to make her way in the world, decides to live off her relatives.  “Robert Post’s child” which is what she is called by all the residents of Cold Comfort Farm – the Starkadder family – would be a complete fish out of water in this environment except Flora is the sort of fish who changes her environment to suit herself.   Watching her do it is the entertainment of the book and it is highly entertaining as long as you have that sort of sense of humor, which I do.  I might seek out more Stella Gibbons.   I think I have one somewhere.


There’ve always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm.

6 thoughts on “Catching Up (Cold Comfort Farm)”

  1. I love this book so much! And the movie. Yes, the futurey sentences are very weird, and very sparse. I think that’s also why the guy (Charles?) shows up in a plane at the end; everybody has planes in the future, and there are video phones.

    I wish I could read the Higher Common Sense, and also take fashion lessons from Flora.

    Chinese detectives based on real people: you want the Judge Dee books by Robert van Gulik. Judge Dee was a real person, and van Gulik seems to have translated/re-written many of the old Chinese stories about him. They are neat.

    1. I did read a Judge Dee book about a month ago. Enjoyed it, except for the torture and that seems to be a general feature. Appropriate for the time, and minimal, but still put a damper on my enjoyment of it.

  2. I remember loving this book. But I never found out the wrong that was done to Flora’s father, nor what her rights were. These questions will haunt me until I die (or find out first!) 😉 Great review!

    And I’m so sad that you couldn’t join the Beowulf read-along but all the posts and discussion (I’m getting some great comments and questions) will be there for whenever you’re ready to read it!

    1. Thanks! I was sad, too, about Beowulf. This month has just bee too, too full of non-bookish stuff. Not bad stuff, but I didn’t want to commit and then fall down on the job like I did with Mr. Trollope.

  3. CCF is set in the near future although there are only maybe 3 sentences in the entire book which give a clue to that

    Really! I’ve read the book twice and I never noticed that. Probably because I never stopped to think that it dates back to 1932.

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