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The Man In The Wooden Hat

IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, 2011

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781405522335

Price: £9.99

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Another masterpiece from Jane Gardam and the second novel in the Old Filth trilogy

‘She does fiction as it should be done, with confidence and insight’ CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

‘Witty, subversive, moving’ THE TIMES

‘Full of the humour and eccentricity that have made Gardam one of the most enjoyable novelists writing today’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

Old Filth told the story of Sir Edward (Eddie) Feathers QC, aka Filth, his colonial upbringing and career, his long and comfortable marriage, his rivalries and friendships. The Man in the Wooden Hat picks up these threads from the perspective of Filth’s wife, Betty. An orphan of the Japanese internment camps, a free spirit, a clever code-breaker at Bletchley Park, Betty has her own secret passions. No wonder she is drawn to Filth’s hated rival at the Bar, the brash, forceful Veneering.


A supremely literary and youthful book
Sunday Times
The characters tell their own stories through flashes of thought and perfectly pitched dialogue
Independent on Sunday
One of the few feats that's harder than doing justice to a complicated marriage is doing justice to it twice. ..On its own, The Man in the Wooden Hat is funny and affecting, but read alongside Old Filth, it's remarkable
New York Times
Gardam's writing is like painting on glass: vivid and translucent
[A] delicious new novel . . . Gardam's writing is lyrical and never strains . . . brimming with a celebratory attitude to language
Financial Times
People and places, the past and the present, are woven into threads of narrative which, drawn together, give the writing a marvellous lilting power. This novel and its predecessor, Old Filth, have a symbiotic relationship: they are hugely enjoyable entities in their own right but the sum of them adds up to something more than the parts. Together the novels offer a view of England refracted through its colonial past . . . Childhood, home and exile are constantly recurring themes but the real subject is love
Richard Eyre, Guardian
Delicious and poignant . . . there are rich complexities of chronology, settings and characters, all manipulated with marvellous dexterity
What a lot Jane Gardam knows about love and its accommodations; the rich contradictory play of desire and loyalty, the sudden storms of feeling that assail the edifice of a marriage. And how elegantly and intelligently and kindly she writes about the instinctive, tendril-like gropings of one human heart towards another
Jane Shilling, Telegraph
What Gardam is particularly good at - and what made Old Filth so compelling - is creating for her characters façades of complete conventionality, which are then chipped away to reveal strange internal workings...But one need not be familiar with Filth's history to be moved by Betty's final summation of her long marriage...in a novel preoccupied by the fear of becoming old, anachronistic and obsolete, this late-flowering love stands as a reminder that time does not just decay, it ripens too
Olivia Laing, Guardian