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Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
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Past Imperfect (2009)

by Julian Fellowes

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In PAST IMPERFECT by Julian Fellowes, we have an unnamed narrator who is contacted by a former friend, Damian Baxter, to locate a woman who he believed gave birth to his child in 1968.
Our narrator reluctantly agrees to this request and begins his quest in a very reflective state of mind and discovers as much about himself (past and present) as he does about the members of a debutante group he was a part of in the late 60s.
The story is a bit long, but interesting, detailed, witty and a bit sad.
As with Julian Fellowes’ book, SNOBS, the story is told against the backdrop of English class and society. I liked the details of London in the 1960s. I liked the book’s cover art. I became a bit reflective, myself, about past friends and experiences. A great read. ( )
  diana.hauser | Apr 7, 2016 |
Julian Fellowes is a terrific writer - loving this book! ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
Jullian Fellowes offers a more modern insight into the British class snobbery. His works are fun if you're into that sort of thing. This one was sort of a fun mystery, to boot. ( )
  karrinina | Nov 13, 2013 |
Julian Fellowes, Oscar winning screenwriter of "Gosford Park" and the creator of the hit TV show "Downton Abbey" turns his gimlet eye on modern British society in this novel. The story isn't much: a man is contacted by his old nemesis who is now dying and asked to track down his long-lost illegitimate child so he can leave his fortune to him or her. This sets the narrator on a quest and also back into reminiscing about his days of hobnobbing in high society during the London season of 1968.

However, apart from a somewhat lame plot, there are Fellowes' thoughts and criticisms of the old class-bound British society and what it has devolved into today. And his observations are both fascinating and pretty much spot-on. For readers who like novels of manners as well as students of social history, this book is a treat. ( )
  etxgardener | Apr 2, 2012 |
Absolutely loved this. Fellowes knows his territory and is a gifted observer of people and relationships. Amusing and arresting descriptions - a small princess is described as looking more like a boy-scout during bob-a-job week. And the structure was compelling, jumping from the narrator's youth during 'the season' in the 60's, and revisiting those acquaintances over 30 years later. It gave a chance for Fellowes to ruminate about how society and our lives have changed in that time, for both good and bad. Although a social satire, focusing on the upper-middles and aristocracy, his observations transcend that elite. ( )
  LARA335 | Jul 27, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Embedded in the detailed descriptions of how the upper classes lived 40 years ago is a slimline plot. Damian Baxter, old, rich and lonely, is dying. Summoning an old enemy (once his closest friend) he concocts a Recherche du Temps Perdu mission among the debs he once slept with to find a child he may have fathered. His final act will be a coup de foudre for the family of this child, but Baxter plans to cushion the blow by leaving his fortune to his only offspring.

There are five ex-debs with children of the right age and the hapless narrator finds them one by one. What he discovers is that their lives now highlight the ways the world has changed, and they all seem to have a soft spot for Baxter. This is gruelling as he nurses a resentment against the man himself, the cause of which is revealed only at the end.

This is a book for a hot winter beach, an escape from life as we know it. Fellowes does us a huge favour in chronicling the world of class-bound aristocrats and their arcane snobbery. But in revealing their priorities, he gives us much to be grateful for in our own society now.
added by VivienneR | editThe Independent, Raffaella Barker (Nov 16, 2008)
 
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To Emma and Peregrine without whom nothing at all would ever get written
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London is a haunted city for me now and I am the ghost that haunts it.
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Book description
Damian Baxter is very, very rich - and he's dying. He lives alone in a big house in Surrey, looked after by a chauffeur, butler, cook and housemaid. He has but one concern: who should inherit his fortune...PAST IMPERFECT is the story of a quest. Damian Barker wishes to know if he has a living heir. By the time he married in his late thirties he was sterile (the result of adult mumps), but what about before that unfortunate illness? He was not a virgin. Had he sired a child? A letter from a girlfriend from these times suggests he did. But the letter is anonymous. Damian contacts someone he knew from their days at university. He gives him a list of girls he slept with and sets him a task: find his heir...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0753825414, Paperback)

Damian Baxter is very, very rich - and he's dying. He lives alone in a big house in Surrey, looked after by a chauffeur, butler, cook and housemaid. He has but one concern: who should inherit his fortune...PAST IMPERFECT is the story of a quest. Damian Barker wishes to know if he has a living heir. By the time he married in his late thirties he was sterile (the result of adult mumps), but what about before that unfortunate illness? He was not a virgin. Had he sired a child? A letter from a girlfriend from these times suggests he did. But the letter is anonymous. Damian contacts someone he knew from their days at university. He gives him a list of girls he slept with and sets him a task: find his heir...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:49 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Damian Baxter is very, very rich. He has but one concern, which is becoming more urgent as the weeks go by: who should inherit his fortune. A letter from an ex-girlfriend suggests, that as a young man, he may have fathered a child, but the letter is anonymous. Finding the truth will not be easy.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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