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Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Cold Comfort Farm (original 1932; edition 2006)

by Stella Gibbons, Lynne Truss (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9801521,285 (4.03)438
Title:Cold Comfort Farm
Authors:Stella Gibbons (Author)
Other authors:Lynne Truss (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2006), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Finished, Your library, Kindle e-book, K-Fiction-EN
Tags:english, fiction, 2012

Work details

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (1932)

  1. 112
    Emma by Jane Austen (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Flora is very clearly modeled on Emma.
  2. 91
    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Another brilliant parody.
  3. 30
    Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace (msouliere)
  4. 30
    The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (Bjace)
    Bjace: While it's not in the same genre, the books are similiar. Both Sophy and Flora Post are Miss Fix-its, whose practical, problem-solving approach to life is a contrast to the silliness of their relatives. Also, both are delightful reads in different ways.
  5. 20
    Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson (Michael.Rimmer)
  6. 20
    The Straight and Narrow Path by Honor Tracy (rebeccanyc)
    rebeccanyc: Another satire, this time of the Irish countryside, the English in Ireland, and the Catholic church.
  7. 53
    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (upster)
    upster: It's refreshing and fun
  8. 10
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (amanda4242)
    amanda4242: Both books are sure to cheer up anyone having a miserable day.
  9. 10
    Who was Changed and Who was Dead by Barbara Comyns (laytonwoman3rd)
  10. 02
    My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (MyriadBooks)
  11. 03
    The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence (thorold)
    thorold: The Rainbow is a great novel that's well worth reading for its own sake, but it's also the supreme example of the over-portentous way of writing about the countryside that makes the parody in Cold Comfort Farm so hilarious.
1930s (8)

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» See also 438 mentions

English (144)  Spanish (5)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Written in 1938, this is a comic novel that parodies romance novels set in rural settings such as were written by D. H. Lawrence, Jane Austen and Kaye-Smith, Thomas Hardy and the Bronte sisters. The book especially reminded me of Emma by Austen as this book as Flora, a orphan decides to visit her relatives on Cold Comfort Farm to clean things up. The author also parodies the rural accents and makes up word; mollucking, clettering, sukebind. The names of the milk cows; Feckless, Aimless, Pointless and Graceless and the Bull Big Business as are the names of the characters are also quite amusing. A short novel, it took me awhile to read as the beginning and middle just seemed so silly and going no where but over all it is a funny, light read which often fits the ticket. I will rate it 4 stars for creativity. ( )
  Kristelh | Sep 26, 2015 |
While I found some moments of this book to be funny I did not think it hilarious. I believe this is because I did not relate to the play very well. It's a satire apparently but in this day and age it didn't come across as satirical as it might have when it was first published. I didn't realize it was a play when I picked it up either. But it's not long. Check it off the list. ( )
  Kassilem | Sep 11, 2015 |
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons is another of those books on a long personal list of titles I've heard people talk about all myself and somehow have only gotten to now. It's also among a short list I can remember my grandmother describing as the books she read one handed at the detriment of her chores and cooking.

Flora Poste is looking to put off making her way in the world by seeking a relative to live with and perhaps work for until she figures out what she actually wants to do with her life. Of all the dozens of letters she sends out, the only reply is from Aunt Ada Doom of Cold Comfort Farm.

Now Cold Comfort Farm is the British version of Jalna (and the two novels are contemporaries). It's another farm fallen on hard times, being run by an extremely elderly matriarch, inhabited by multiple generations of people to scared to modernize lest they upset the past glories they are so desperate to hang on to.

Toss in a newbie — in this case, a distant cousin who is unaware of some previous debt the family in question feels they owe to her family. As the newbie, and as someone used to the modern conveniences and liberal attitudes of the big city, she can see the farm for its true state.

Now in the case of Jalna, the arrival of a bride from New York is played for drama. Here, though, it's done for humor. Aunt Doom has spent her entire life, save for select nights where she counts her family, locked away in her room, reeling from the "something nasty" she saw in the woodshed when she was a child. Sure it was traumatizing but she's made her flailing about into an art form.

But with a pluckiness that's one part Anne Shirley and perhaps two parts Miss Phryne Fisher, Flora Poste snaps the family out of its fugue and manages to help modernize it some. As it's a comedy, it ends with a marriage (though not hers).

Now, besides hearing about this book all my life, I also came to it by way of the recent film adaptation. The book is fun and I'm sure I would have enjoyed it the other way around (book first, film second) but I did have fun replaying favorite scenes in my head as I read through the chapters. ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 5, 2015 |
What nasty thing did Aunt Ada Doom see in the woodshed when she was two, and no bigger than a titty-wren? We never do find out. We know that there have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm. Tied to the farm by the invisible chains that Aunt Ada Doom has spun with her seeming madness, the various members of the Starkadder family are certainly an odd bunch. Flora, Robert Poste's child (as all of the Starkadders refer to her), is left with a yearly income of only 100 pounds after her father dies. Having no desire to earn a living, she determines to live with relatives, and chooses to move to Cold Comfort Farm. She arrives to find a muddy, dusty, dirty (how many words can we use to describe how filthy it was) farm filled with a strange assortment of relatives. Flora determines to tidy up the farm and the lives of the people who live there. Written as a parody of the brooding, overdramatic novels of the time period, this book is wonderfully comic and filled with vivid characters and images. While I didn't find it laugh out loud funny as many have said, I did find it delightfully amusing. Gibbons sets the timeframe in the near future, and has one character using a video telephone, and others using aeroplanes as taxis.

Read Jan 2014 ( )
  NanaCC | Jul 26, 2015 |
Pure magic - so funny, so clever, so sweet. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Jul 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stella Gibbonsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chast, RozIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simmonds, PosyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Truss, LynneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery -- Mansfield Park.
NOTE The action of the story takes place in the near future.
To Allan and Ina
First words
The education bestowed upon Flora Poste by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged; and when they died within a few weeks of one another during the annual epidemic of influenza or Spanish Plague which occured in her twentieth year, she was discovered to possess every art and grace save that of earning her own living.
To Anthony Pookworthy, Esq., A.B.S., L.L.R. My dear Tony, It is with something more than the natural deference of a tyro at the loveliest, most arduous and perverse of the arts in the presence of a master-craftsman that I lay this book before you. (From the Foreword)
"I saw something nasty in the woodshed!"
She loved them all dearly, but this evening she just did not want to see them any more.
There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort.
"Straw or chaff, leaf or fruit, we mun all come to 't."
"Curses, like rookses, comes home to rest in bosomes and barnses."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039598, Paperback)

Stella Gibbons' novel is a wickedly funny portrait of British rural life in the 1930s. Flora, a recently orphaned socialite, moves in with her country relatives, the gloomy Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm.

A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition with French flaps, rough front, and luxurious packaging
Features an introduction from Lynne Truss and cover illustrations by Roz Chast

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

When a well-educated young socialite in 1930s England is left orphaned and unable to support herself at age twenty-two, she moves in with her eccentric relatives on their farm.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143039598, 0141441593, 0140448500, 0141045485, 0241951518

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