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The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price…
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The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals (original 2012; edition 2014)

by Wendy Jones

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1398129,674 (3.49)17
Member:nohrt4me2
Title:The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals
Authors:Wendy Jones
Info:Europa Editions (2014), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 272 pages
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The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones (2012)

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» See also 17 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Worst book title ever... yet a very well done "small-scale" story. Quintessential fare from Europa Editions (my favorite publishing house). ( )
  joecanas | Nov 16, 2017 |
Huge, lengthy, wonderful descriptive writing. The story while believable is mediocre. ( )
  kimkimkim | Aug 21, 2017 |
I am torn with this one. It reminds me somewhat of Nancy Mitford, Muriel Spark, Barbara Pym, or Elizabeth Taylor, a brief interlude into normal lives where deep sadness, with a little black comedy, lurks under the everyday. Also a little reminiscent of "On the Black Hill" with its vivid evocation of rural Wales (except a very different part of Wales) around the same time period. It is basically a love triangle, with complications, between Wilfred Price and two women he dates, middle-class Grace and more free-spirited Flora.

I liked the writing quite a bit. It showed great compassion for all the characters and there were some very beautiful and emotional passages. It felt light and easy to read, which seemed to belie the very fraught subject matter. But there was a simplicity and forthrightness to the writing that made the deep emotions seem true and reasonable.

I think my hesitation lies with the book's central moral question, which is whether our own right to happiness trumps our obligations to other people, and how that plays out with the book's ending (spoilers ahead). You want Wilfred to follow his heart and find happiness, of course. He's a nice young man worth cheering for. But I think at a deeper level I was disappointed in him for abandoning Grace to what was clearly going to be a life of deprivation and misery, in order to gratify his own desires.

I am actually a little shocked at this response, because I tend to get frustrated with reviewers who say things like "these characters were all so awful that I hated the book" or "no nice people in this book, who wants to read about so many mean people." Yet here I am, basically saying that I wished Wilfred had been a nicer person. The problem was that the author invited the reader to embrace Wilfred's choice, rather than really making us wrestle with the moral implications. The ending was written pretty clearly as a happy one in which we were supposed to feel satisfied that Wilfred finally got what he wanted. Which I did, for about 30 seconds after closing the book. But there can be no happy ending in this situation. It would have been a stronger and truer book if Wilfred had at least seemed to wrestle with these questions for more than a page. ( )
  sansmerci | Jul 9, 2015 |
Frothy light reading with one creepy plot twist. I don't hate it,and I read the whole thing in two sittings, but only recommend it for a quick read when you don't really want to think much. Not badly written, but not really special. ( )
  laurieindra | Jan 4, 2015 |
I was fortunate enough to read this book after getting a copy from my internship/job. The book is a truly traditional comedy of manners, but it involves a good number of surprising twists and sometimes shocking revelations. I'm looking forward to future books in the series. ( )
  Seven.Stories.Press | Jun 13, 2014 |
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Epigraph
And he saw a tall tree by the side of the river, one half of which was on fire, from the root to the top, and the other half was green and in full leaf.

The Mabinogion, eleventh-century Welsh epic
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For Solly, whose enthusiasm for watching Thunderbirds DVDs made this book entirely possible.
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Everyone has to make decisions about love. Wilfred Price, overcome with emotion on a sunny spring day, proposes to a girl he barely knows at a picnic. The girl, Grace, joyfully accepts and rushes to tell her family of Wilfred's intentions. But by this time Wilfred has realised his mistake. He does not love Grace. On the verge of extricating himself, Wilfred's situation suddenly becomes more serious when Grace's father steps in. Up until this point in his life, Wilfred's existence has been blissfully simple, and the young undertaker seems unable to stop the swirling mess that now surrounds him. To add to Wilfred's emotional turmoil, he thinks he may just have met the perfect girl for him. As Wilfred struggles in an increasingly tangled web of expectation and duty, love and lies, Grace reveals a long-held secret that changes everything.… (more)

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