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Library Journal: "Both witty and poignant, this work is more than a character study; through her protagonist, Gardam offers a view of the last days of empire as seen from post-9/11 Britain."

Date: Apr 17 2006

Gardam’s impressive oeuvre runs to over 25 books for adults and children, including Whitbread Prize winners The Queen of the Tambourine and The Hollow Land, but her latest has the freshness and energy of a particularly brilliant first novel.  

Filth (short for “Failed in London, Try Hong Kong”) is a retired international lawyer who has recently been widowed.  Left to contemplate his long marriage, the moral contradictions of his career, and the passionate hatred he harbors for his next-door neighbor, Filth keeps returning to the trauma of his childhood as a “Raj orphan,” one of the countless colonial children sent away from their parents to be educated in a “home” in an England they had never known.  The various meanings of “home” and the gap between the public persona and the private persona are just two of the complex themes that Gardam treats here with the lightest of touches.  Both witty and poignant, this work is more than a character study; through her protagonist, Gardam offers a view of the last days of empire as seen from post-9/11 Britain.  Strongly recommended.