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Beschreibung des Verlags
'It's a cliche to compare novelists to Jane Austen, but in the case of Jane Gardam it happens to be true. Her diamond-like prose, her understanding of the human heart, her formal inventiveness and her sense of what it is to be alive - young, old, lonely, in love - never fades' Amanda Craig
'Her work, like Sylvia Townsend Warner's, has that appealing combination of elegance, erudition and flinty wit' Patrick Gale
'Sharp, humane, generous and wonderfully funny, she is one of our very finest writers' Hilary Mantel
Shortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize.
Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat told with bristling tenderness and black humour the stories of that Titan of the Hong Kong law courts, Old Filth QC, and his clever, misunderstood wife Betty. Last Friends, the final volume of this trilogy, picks up with Terence Veneering, Filth's great rival in work and - though it was never spoken of - in love.
Veneering's were not the usual beginnings of an establishment silk: the son of a Russian acrobat marooned in northeast England and a devoted local girl, he escapes the war to emerge in the Far East as a man of panache, success and fame. But, always, at the stuffy English Bar he is treated with suspicion: where did this blond, louche, brilliant Slav come from?
Veneering, Filth and their friends tell a tale of love, friendship, grace, the bittersweet experiences of a now-forgotten Empire and the disappointments and consolations of age.
Completing the trilogy begun by Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat, Gardam's impeccable finale revisits the triad of Edward "Old Filth" Feathers; his wife, Betty; and his rival (and Betty's lover), Terry Veneering. Although this third installation is ostensibly about Veneering, it is just as much about the minor characters these three have left in their wake. The novel begins at Old Filth's memorial service as Dulcie, widow of Judge William Willy, and Fred Fiscal-Smith, the perpetual hanger-on, share hazy reminiscences of their departed friends. As the two witness the last traces of the British Empire fade away, Gardam juxtaposes scenes from Veneering's impoverished childhood, describing the pains he took in order to escape class restrictions and become a respected lawyer. Though familiarity with the prior two installments of the trilogy is not necessary, readers entering the story at this late entry will miss much of the richness and depth of Gardam's narrative. They see themselves moving out of sync with the world around them, as one of the numerous geriatrics who populate this novel muses "Perhaps fiction was a mistake, it has rather fizzled out." But here Gardam proves that, even in its twilight, there is still life in the traditional English novel.