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Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
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Cold Comfort Farm (original 1932; edition 2006)

by Stella Gibbons, Lynne Truss (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,9831461,285 (4.04)422
Member:pikorua
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
Rating:****
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.
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  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 422 mentions

English (139)  Spanish (5)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (146)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm follows protagonist Flora, an almost ruthlessly pragmatic and tidy person, as she imposes upon her dour relatives in Sussex. The Starkadders, proprietors of the farm, are a collection of quirky individuals ranging from the hellfire-and-brimstone Amos, the wild and untamed Elphine, and the matriarch of the family, Ada Doom, who once "saw something nasty in the woodshed" and has never fully recovered from the trauma.

With a deep belief in tidiness, a familiarity with all sorts of literary tropes (including the ubiquity of men named Seth and Reuben residing in the country), and a sangfroid worthy of Alice in Wonderland, Flora begins to sort out the depressing lives of the inhabitants of Cold Comfort Farm.

I commiserated with Lynne Truss's superb introduction when she said she had initially put off reading the book, imagining the parody to be irrelevant as the genre it skewers, but Gibbons's humor has not aged; her tart, terse prose is perfectly suited to comedy. Even the little details, such as the names of the cows (Feckless, Aimless, Pointless, and Graceless), are hilarious.

A hysterical parody of the traditional country story, Cold Comfort Farm remains a classic of the English parody.
( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
It's important to know up front that this is a satire. I had always heard of the book, but knew little about it. It's a short book, and, therefore, if you're not aware it's a broad satire it's quite bewildering and takes awhile to get into the flow - esp. the conversations. Otherwise, it's great fun. ( )
  NellieMc | Mar 15, 2015 |
I enjoyed this, but am glad it ended when it did. Flora goes to live with her gloomy eccentric relatives in rural Sussex and sorts them all out, one way or another. There were some very funny lines and Flora's upbeat spirit is entertaining, but every one else (apart from Charles) was just a bit icky somehow. ( )
  pgchuis | Feb 4, 2015 |
Miss Flora Poste would be perfectly at home in a P.G. Wodehouse novel. In temperament, she's more Jeeves than Wooster, but she's a woman who likes to go to dinner and out dancing with interesting companions, and she's aware of the importance of dressing for the occasion. At the beginning of Stella Gibbons' excellent novel, Flora discovers that she possesses every art and grace save that of earning her own living. She determines that her best option is to go and live with relatives and so she ends up arriving at Cold Comfort Farm, in deepest Sussex, aware of nothing but that they feel that they owe her a debt due to some wrong done to her father decades earlier.

Cold Comfort Farm is a damp and depressing place, where emotions run higher than Charlotte Bronte would be entirely at ease with.

Judith's breath came in long shudders. She thrust her arms deeper into her shawl. The porridge gave an ominous, leering heave; it might almost have been endowed with life, so uncannily did its movements keep pace with the human passions that throbbed above it.

"Cur," said Judith, levelly, at last. "Coward! Liar! Libertine! Who were you with last night? Moll at the mill or Violet at the vicarage? Or Ivy, perhaps, at the ironmongery? Seth -- my son..." Her deep, dry voice quivered, but she whipped it back, and her next words flew out at him like a lash.

"Do you want to break my heart?"

"Yes," said Seth, with an elemental simplicity.

The porridge boiled over.


And into this seething cauldron of family passions and unsanitary conditions, marches Flora, who quickly sees that she has her work cut out for her, to bring light and happiness and order to the denizens of Cold Comfort Farm, Howling, Sussex.

A parody of the long forgotten genre of the rural melodrama, Cold Comfort Farm remains as approachable and humorous as it was when it was first published. Really, this was just a great deal of fun to read. Flora is a protagonist worth cheering for and her relentless good will and determination to set things to right have the reader hoping for happy solutions for every dour character. ( )
2 vote RidgewayGirl | Jan 4, 2015 |
Flora Poste moves in with distant relatives on Cold Comfort Farm and decides to fix everybody.

I absolutely adored this book! I had a feeling I would, since I've seen the movie several times. The book is, in many ways, funnier, because it's written in that overblown, melodramatic fashion of pastoral novels popular at the time, but with just enough snark thrown in. I laughed out loud many times. Yet despite being a satire, the characters are very human. The task Flora sets for herself is to transform them from caricatures into people, and she succeeds. Flora is just my kind of British heroine: sensible, pragmatic, straightforward, intolerant of overblown emotions and a reader. I'm sure I will reread this one often.

Read in 2014. ( )
  sturlington | Dec 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stella Gibbonsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chast, RozIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery -- Mansfield Park.
NOTE The action of the story takes place in the near future.
Dedication
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)
Quotations
"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 5 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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