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Firefly by Janette Jenkins
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Firefly (edition 2013)

by Janette Jenkins

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365462,656 (3.31)2
Member:SassyLassy
Title:Firefly
Authors:Janette Jenkins
Info:New York : Europa Editions, 2013.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Fiction English, 21st C

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Firefly by Janette Jenkins

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Showing 5 of 5
I was hoping to like this more although I couldn't tell you what I was expecting. It is at its essence about a wealthy older man at the end of his life pretty much alone except for the people he hires to take care of him. The fact that he's Noel Coward doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
I was hoping to like this more although I couldn't tell you what I was expecting. It is at its essence about a wealthy older man at the end of his life pretty much alone except for the people he hires to take care of him. The fact that he's Noel Coward doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
I was hoping to like this more although I couldn't tell you what I was expecting. It is at its essence about a wealthy older man at the end of his life pretty much alone except for the people he hires to take care of him. The fact that he's Noel Coward doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference. ( )
  CydMelcher | Feb 5, 2016 |
A beautifully written book about the last months of Noel Coward's life. Firefly is the name of his retreat set in the grounds of his Jamaican house, and that is where he died.
The book is like a polished gem, every word is perfectly chosen to evoke a picture of the great man struggling with his increasingly deteriorating health as memories of his childhood, theatrical triumphs and disasters, friendships and sexual encounters come and go. The relationship between him and the young Jamaican who acts as general factotum is both funny and poignant. I have already recommended this book to several friends. ( )
  herschelian | Jul 3, 2014 |
"Firefly" has some charming passages and achieves a nice effect in portraying the sad final years of one of the great entertainers of the mid twentieth century. I wonder though if the author's goals in writing the book were perhaps excessively modest. "Firefly" is really a novella, and it could be that it falls uneasily between the concision of a short story and the complexity of a longer novel.

It also concerns me somewhat that the book fits too easily into a cultural pattern that has been been set up recently in fictional accounts of famous persons. It's as if there's a delight in showing old people in decline, approaching death. I'm thinking of films like "Iris" - about the last years of the novelist Iris Murdoch, when she was suffering from Alzheimers - and also of "The Iron Lady," the Margaret Thatcher bio-pic. It seems like there is a trend to portray these important notables - as Janette Jenkins does also here in "Firefly" - at the end of their lives, when they have lost their powers and characteristics that made them notable, imporant and interesting in the first place. Yes, it is true that getting old can be devastating and ravaging, but I would prefer to have been shown more of what made Noel Coward a significant cultural icon in the first place - the wit, the style, the charm, the "design for living".

If people are interested in Noel Coward in 2014 - and I'm not sure that many people are - it's not because he became a doddering old fogey sitting by a swimming pool in Jamaica. ( )
  yooperprof | Mar 31, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0701187425, Hardcover)

A short, sparkling novel about the twilight years of Noël Coward's life, by the author of Angel of Brooklyn.
     On a secluded hillside in Jamaica lies Firefly, Noël Coward's peaceful retreat. Here, between sundowners and sunsets, brandies and cigarettes, the seventy-year-old Coward whiles away his days -- a comforting, frustrating pattern of unwanted breakfasts, reluctant walks, graceless dips in the pool -- in the company of his manservant Patrice. Both of them dream of a London that is long-gone or imagined: Noël's peopled with glamorous friends -- Redgrave, Olivier, O'Toole -- and Patrice's a picture-postcard vision of elegance and opportunity.

     Set over a series of summer days in the early 1970s, Firefly flits through Coward's dreams and memories, his successes and regrets, against a sultry, seductive backdrop of blue skies and glistening water. Colourful and contemplative, this is a moving portrait of old age and friendship, and a poignant appraisal of a life well lived.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:15 -0400)

Offers a seductive snapshot of Noel Coward, that consummate man of the theater. Most of the action occurs during one week in 1971. The recently knighted Sir Noel is living in his tiny hilltop retreat in Jamaica, the eponymous Firefly, above his much larger, bustling home below. He divides his time between there and Switzerland, avoiding England for tax reasons. The great man is in poor health, suffering dizzy spells and leading a sedentary life (he will die two years later, at age 73). Down the hill, his unobtrusive partner, Graham Payn, takes care of business. What's different about this week? Noel's peerless manservant, Miguel, an older, married man who arranges everything just so, is away, visiting a dying relative. Standing in for him is Patrice, an exuberant 22-year-old. The relationship between the young blood with big dreams and the literary lion tugged back by memories is at the heart of the novel.… (more)

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