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Library Journal: "Gardam has created characters that are charming and touching and has edged them with her barbed humor."

Date: Jun 30 2008

In these 14 stories set in England, Gardam (The Flight of the Maidens) writes efficiently and amusingly about old age, insensitive youth, strange events, and ordinary life. Some stories, such as "Pangbourne," about a woman who bonds with a gorilla at the zoo, and "Babette," about an aging writer who gives away a cast-iron bathtub, are wonderfully bizarre. Others, like "The Hair of the Dog" and "The Fledgling," deal with the inevitable misunderstanding between parents and their children. Two of the best stories are the title story and "The Latter Days of Mr. Jones." In the former, we find Edward Feathers from Gardam's novel Old Filth on his way to a luncheon that ultimately ends in social disaster for the hostess but satisfying amusement for the reader. In the latter, the title character is a gentle elderly man who is quietly living out his days in a neighborhood that has become increasingly contemporary and thus suspicious of old men who enjoy sitting in the park watching children play. ""Recommended for all fiction collections.

—Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Law Lib., Malibu, CA

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