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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.

Reviews

Sharp, humane, generous and wonderfully funny, she is one of our very finest writers
Hilary Mantel
This is as mordantly precise and moving a novel as you will find anywhere
Daily Telegraph
An ambitious and complex portrait of extraordinary times
Guardian
The satisfying conclusion to Gardam's Old Filth trilogy offers exquisite prose, wry humor, and keen insights into aging and death
New Yorker
Last Friends is evocative, elegiac, and shaded in autumnal tones, as suits the final volume in a trilogy. Like Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, the Old Filth trilogy restores us to an era rich in spectacle and bristling with insinuation and intrigue. Vivid, spacious, superbly witty, and refreshingly brisk...the story (and the author) will endure
Boston Globe
[Gardam] is the best kind of literary escape: serious, mesmerizing, and deeply satisfying
Los Angeles Review of Books
Her effortless command of character and narrative sweeps you right along...Among other things, she provides an unsentimental but oddly hopeful vision of old age
New York Times
She is a brilliant writer. Her prose sparkles with wit, compassion and humor. She keeps us entertained, and she keeps us guessing. Be thankful for her books. Be thankful for this trilogy, which is ultimately an elegy, created with deep affection
Washington Post
If Rudyard Kipling was the laureate of the British Empire, then Jane Gardam is surely the closest thing we have to a laureate of its demise...Spanning nearly a century, the three novels offer a compelling, finely nuanced tableau of the end of an era and the passing of the generation that sustained it. Part of the genius of each successive book is that it does not continue the story so much as rework it from a different angle.
Times Literary Supplement
An ambitious and complex portrait of extraordinary times
Guardian
The satisfying conclusion to Gardam's Old Filth trilogy offers exquisite prose, wry humor, and keen insights into aging and death
New Yorker
Last Friends is evocative, elegiac, and shaded in autumnal tones, as suits the final volume in a trilogy. Like Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, the Old Filth trilogy restores us to an era rich in spectacle and bristling with insinuation and intrigue. Vivid, spacious, superbly witty, and refreshingly brisk . . . the story (and the author) will endure
Boston Globe
[Gardam] is the best kind of literary escape: serious, mesmerizing, and deeply satisfying
Los Angeles Review of Books
Her effortless command of character and narrative sweeps you right along...Among other things, she provides an unsentimental but oddly hopeful vision of old age
New York Times
She is a brilliant writer. Her prose sparkles with wit, compassion and humor. She keeps us entertained, and she keeps us guessing. Be thankful for her books. Be thankful for this trilogy, which is ultimately an elegy, created with deep affection
Washington Post
If Rudyard Kipling was the laureate of the British Empire, then Jane Gardam is surely the closest thing we have to a laureate of its demise . . . Spanning nearly a century, the three novels offer a compelling, finely nuanced tableau of the end of an era and the passing of the generation that sustained it. Part of the genius of each successive book is that it does not continue the story so much as rework it from a different angle.
Times Literary Supplement
It's hard...not to be charmed by a writer with Gardam's substantial gifts
New York Times Book Review
Sharp, humane, generous and wonderfully funny, she is one of our very finest writers
Hilary Mantel
This is as mordantly precise and moving a novel as you will find anywhere
Daily Telegraph