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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
4,2461731,168 (4.02)479
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. 122
    Emma by Jane Austen (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Flora is very clearly modeled on Emma.
  2. 101
    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Another brilliant parody.
  3. 40
    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.
  4. 30
    Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace (msouliere)
  5. 20
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (amanda4242)
    amanda4242: Both books are sure to cheer up anyone having a miserable day.
  6. 20
    Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson (Michael.Rimmer)
  7. 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.
  8. 53
    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (upster)
    upster: It's refreshing and fun
  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 (9)

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» See also 479 mentions

English (166)  Spanish (5)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (173)
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
I finally got round to reading this book, which has been on my wishlist for ages and my TBR ever since it was released in Australia as a Popular Penguin. This was a book that I seem to have known about forever, one whose memorable phrases bled into the vocabulary of our family because my parents had read it when they were young. It is a delicious satire of the British rural novel, lampooning Jane Austen’s marriage machinations; the doom-laden stories of Thomas Hardy; and the daft sexuality of D H Lawrence. The fact that these are three of my favourite authors makes the comedy all the more enjoyable. (Though I have to confess to having ‘grown out of’ Lawrence. I read and loved everything of his when I was a young woman, but like Tchaikovsky who is great when you want to wallow in your own adolescent misery, Lawrence is a taste best savoured in youth, IMO. It is too hard not to laugh in the wrong places once you reach ‘a certain age’.)

Anyway, Gibbons’ spoof is brilliant. Flora Poste, a socialite with no apparent means of support other than £100 per year, is a parasitic orphan who descends on her only living relations, the Starkadders, at the aptly-named Cold Comfort Farm because she does not care to get a job. Flora is forever fending off suitors who are in love with her, including Mr Mybug, who she identifies with a shudder as an author straight away. Mybug, who has come to the peace and quiet of the rural lifestyle to write, is working on a book about how the Brontë sisters passed off their brother Branwell’s stories as their own – because no woman could possibly have written Wuthering Heights.

Flora’s central amusement is to interfere in situations which take her interest. There is nothing worse, for Flora, than things being boring.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2015/01/23/cold-comfort-farm-by-stella-gibbons/
  anzlitlovers | Aug 15, 2016 |
Yeah, I'll maybe reattempt this someday in a different mindset, but I strongly disliked the "voice" of the author - the humour was overly knowing and a bit smug.
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
It took me a long time to finish Cold Comfort Farm, mostly because I had seen the adaptation and already knew, more or less, what happens.

I am glad I persevered. One thing I didn't realise from the adaptation is that Cold Comfort Farm is set in a future that never came to pass. I'm not sure if this makes it a sort of science-fiction, or a sort of alternate history... but it is fitting for a novel which sets out to parody other novels. Nobody in it is entirely real and that's kind of the point.

This is a strange book, but an amusing one, and I particularly enjoyed the prose.

Even Mrs Smiling could not find much comfort in the time-table. It seemed to her even more confused than usual. Indeed, since the aerial routes and the well-organised road routes had appropriated three-quarters of the passengers who used to make their journeys by train, the remaining railway companies had fallen into a settled melancholy; an idle and repining despair invaded their literature, and its influence was noticeable even in their time-tables. ( )
  Herenya | Mar 29, 2016 |
Well educated, sensible, and apt to take people in hand, Miss Flora Poste is nevertheless a teenaged orphan without much in the way of finances (at least by her standards). So she resolves to live with relatives, both as a cost-savings and to provide her with material for the novel she intends to write when she is 50. She chooses her second cousin Judith's farm on the basis of the town (named Howling, Sussex), the farm (named Cold Comfort) and Judith's vague mention of owing Flora based on a wrong done years ago. It turns out that Cold Comfort Farm really is as gothic, trite and squalid as she'd imagined, but Flora is not daunted--she sets out to solve the farm's problems one by one, from her arty teen cousin who is sure to be unlucky in love to the farm's nominal leader Amos, who only wants to preach hellfire and damnation.

It is laugh out loud hilarious, with a wonderfully impish tone that never gets annoyingly arch.

(I saw the 1995 movie before I ever read the book, and was astounded to find that nearly all of the dialog and action is word-for-word pulled from the book. Some side characters are combined or removed altogether, but it really is an astonishingly faithful adaptation.) ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
My brother saw the movie and said it was great - "very funny." So I bought the book on whim (scanning the shelves at the book store). I found it hard to read because of the language. It didn't really read "hilarious" - has a very dry humor. I have since seen the movie and have an "easier" opinion / perspective. And it's only then that I realized it was originally written in 1932 - THAT explains a LOT! ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stella Gibbonsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chast, RozIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simmonds, PosyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spencer, StanleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Truss, LynneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vales, José C.Translatorsecondary 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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