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Monday, January 30, 2012

REVIEW - FARTHING BY JO WALTON








This book is choc full of history - but I thank God that the history is to a great extent fictional. It would have been absolutely dreadful if the book was in any way faithful to what exactly happened.
I was in turns horrified and then fascinated as to what "could have been" very easily actually, if things turned out differently.

To get to the story Lucy - the daughter of the story comes from a minor titled background. Strangely peculiar family. The father dotes on her as his only surviving child but is controlled viciously by his wife - Lucy's mother who seems to intensely dislike her and all she stands for because Lucy has done the cardinal sin of not following in her mother's footsteps but has married a Jew. Jews are hated, distrusted and viciously attacked in subtle/and unsubtle ways in the Britain of this story.  David and Lucy are the fall guys for a murder of a high ranking politician, whilst the couple are spending a weekend with Lucy's parents at their invitation.

Lucy comes across as a spoilt, indulgent child - she seems to have lived in a cocoon of her own, oblivious to the world around her. A very artificial little world in only what counts is her comfort and very little else. Married to David she is forced to put up with subtle put downs, which she blithely ignores but her redeeming grace is her loyalty and love for David.  We have Inspector Carmichael at the other end - brought in to "solve" the murder by putting the blame squarely on the Jew irrespective of whether he is guilty or not.

Between the two we have a story which is frightening and tense, one which will make you want to know what is actually going to happen as it seems so wildly improbable that it most probably is true.
The story pivots around power, more power and hanging on to that power at any cost, prejudice and more prejudice and working on that prejudice so that you can cling on to the power for longer and be stronger as a result.

A difficult read but a must read.

7 comments:

Anna said...

You've made me really curious about the alternative history in this book!

bibliolathas said...

I really enjoyed this book and I must read the next two soon, as you've reminded me how good this one is!

Mrs Q Book Addict said...

This book is new to me, and it sounds like a great read. I'll have to check this one out at some point. Great review!

Marie said...

ooo, it sounds like fun. i've seen her books floating around the past few years and have been curious- so thanks for the great review! :-)

bermudaonion said...

The alternate history sounds scary - I guess it should make us feel good about the real history.

Kathy said...

Hi Mystica - So interesting, I know very little about Sri Lanka. See my loot at http://yearofreadingmybooks.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/library-loot/ Happy reading, Ruby

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