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Critical Mass: "Gardam , a much-decorated English author, is pure pleasure to read and ponder, with a voice that makes me think of a brilliant, tenderly funny, hyperobservant aunt who will you give the real skinny when no one else will."

Date: Jul 7 2008

Gardam , a much-decorated English author, is pure pleasure to read and ponder, with a voice that makes me think of a brilliant, tenderly funny, hyperobservant aunt who will you give the real skinny when no one else will.

I wrote about her novel Old Filth last year on this blog; this short story collection brings back Old Filth protagonist Sir Edward Feathers, a rich, lonely retired Hong Kong lawyer living out his twilight years in declining Dorsetshire splendor. Other stories feature an older couple seeing their only child off to college; a surreal tale of redemption set during the London Blitz; and a bitter commentary on the scandal-mongering media culture of our time, “The Latter Days of Mr. Jones.” There’s also a story about an older woman who falls in love with a gorilla. The ending made me cry, and I thought I was beyond that.

From Critical Mass, the blog of the national book critics circle board of directors