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Cold Comfort Farm (1932)

by Stella Gibbons

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Cold Comfort Farm: Publication Order (1), Cold Comfort Farm (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,7962231,743 (3.99)1 / 640
Drama. Fiction. HTML:

Strong of will and slender of ankle, twenty-year-old orphan Flora Poste is blessed with every virtue save that of being able to earn her own living. Casting around for suitable relatives with whom she can make her home, Flora alights on the mysterious Starkadders and, ignoring the horrified shrieks of her friends, heads down to darkest Sussex.

There she is confronted by an exceptionally odd cast of characters: grief-stricken Judith, fervently religious Amos, the lusty. smouldering Seth, wild and mysterious Elfine and, of course, the invisible tyrant Great Aunt Ada Doom who saw something nasty in the woodshed. Many would be overcome by the simmering passions of the Starkadder family, but not Flora. All they need is a little organising.

Stella Gibbons' deliciously witty parody has been delighting readers since 1932 and retains its original sunny charm in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation.

.
… (more)
  1. 162
    Emma by Jane Austen (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Flora is very clearly modeled on Emma.
  2. 121
    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: Another brilliant parody.
  3. 50
    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. 40
    Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns (laytonwoman3rd)
  5. 30
    Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace (msouliere)
  6. 30
    Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson (Michael.Rimmer)
  7. 53
    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (upster)
    upster: It's refreshing and fun
  8. 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.
  9. 10
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (amanda4242)
    amanda4242: Both books are sure to cheer up anyone having a miserable day.
  10. 01
    Precious Bane by Mary Webb (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: The one is a parody of the other.
  11. 02
    My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (MyriadBooks)
  12. 04
    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 (5)
My TBR (26)
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» See also 640 mentions

English (213)  Spanish (6)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (222)
Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)
Hilarious. This novel gives D.H.Lawrence what he deserves: advice about hygiene and a good laugh. ( )
  Elanna76 | May 2, 2024 |
Quirky English story. I could see how it would be made into a movie. Easy read. ( )
  SteveMcI | Dec 14, 2023 |
Cold Comfort Farm is, as one friend described, "a wonderfully snippy takeoff of rural-England novels full of steaming middens and dripping thatches, and what happens when a plucky young heroine decides to fix things up; a bit like what might happen if Austen's Emma visited some of Thomas Hardy's characters."

That said, it's been a long time since I've been this happy to be done with a book! My friend's thoughts above sum up the book perfectly, and it's probably a great read if one is in the mood for that. Apparently, I was NOT in the mood for that this week and the book ended up being irritating. It could be, also, that the characters reminded me too much of my own rural family. Ha! Still, I'm happy to have completed one more book from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list. But, like several others I've read from that list, I probably could have died without reading this one. ( )
  classyhomemaker | Dec 11, 2023 |
Flora, a socialite in reduced circumstances due to the unmourned deaths of her parents, goes to live with her distant, eccentric country cousins. The family is under the thumb of domineering Aunt Ada (she who saw “something nasty in the woodshed”), who refuses to let any of her kin leave the farm. Flora, however, is determined to change the family’s circumscribed lives for the better.

All sources agree that Cold Comfort Farm is a parody of the British agrarian novel. Unfortunately, I have not read many of those, so I didn’t always get the joke. Still, this satire makes for a pleasant afternoon read while sick a-bed. ( )
  akblanchard | Dec 8, 2023 |
Sometimes laugh out loud funny other times smile funny or clever funny. The contrast of writing styles and dialogue between the ridiculous melodramatic ~the farm wreathed in shadows~ or ~the web of sorrows that traps me~ and Flora's no nonsense style is pretty fun and sometimes pretty funny. I imagine I'm missing a lot of humour because of my ignorance of the style it's riffing on and the culture/times of the 30s etc but it's decently funny anyway. The last 4th gets pretty absurd in a good way. There's a couple of oblique suicide jokes and a couple of the endings given to people are maybe not idyllic but it doesn't feel mean or unpleasant or anything. Things are generally played pretty lightheartedly. And the whole portrayal of Flora's London is played for laughs too. I dunno it's good. Also Wikipedia claims it's set in the future which explains why there's a few weird out of place things that confused me (eg there's a videophone at one point!)

Also although there's no gay relationships in the novel one character is notably homophobic but given he's presented as quite unpleasant and also a kind of gross pervert I quite liked it

A little disappointed we never find out what happened to Aunt Ada Doom when she was 2 or what supposedly happened to Flora's father - like they're plot devices and everything it's just specifically brought up at the end and we're told Flora never found out so neither do we. Maybe there's a point I'm missing? Maybe she just couldn't think of anything funny enough for them I guess ( )
  tombomp | Oct 31, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gibbons, Stellaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chast, RozCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jenkinson, ChristopherForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Massey, AnnaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scales, PrunellaNarratorsecondary 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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Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
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
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. (Foreword)
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.
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."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Drama. Fiction. HTML:

Strong of will and slender of ankle, twenty-year-old orphan Flora Poste is blessed with every virtue save that of being able to earn her own living. Casting around for suitable relatives with whom she can make her home, Flora alights on the mysterious Starkadders and, ignoring the horrified shrieks of her friends, heads down to darkest Sussex.

There she is confronted by an exceptionally odd cast of characters: grief-stricken Judith, fervently religious Amos, the lusty. smouldering Seth, wild and mysterious Elfine and, of course, the invisible tyrant Great Aunt Ada Doom who saw something nasty in the woodshed. Many would be overcome by the simmering passions of the Starkadder family, but not Flora. All they need is a little organising.

Stella Gibbons' deliciously witty parody has been delighting readers since 1932 and retains its original sunny charm in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation.

.

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See also the Wikipedia article.
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