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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 (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,4612141,636 (4)1 / 612
Flora has been expensively educated to do everything but earn her own living. When she is orphaned at 20, she decides her only option is to go and live with her relatives, the Starkadders, at Cold Comfort Farm. What relatives though. Flora feels it incumbent upon her to bring order into the chaos.
  1. 152
    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. 30
    Mapp and Lucia by E. F. Benson (Michael.Rimmer)
  5. 30
    Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace (msouliere)
  6. 20
    Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns (laytonwoman3rd)
  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
    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)
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» See also 612 mentions

English (203)  Spanish (6)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (212)
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
Funny little satire about an orphan who, looking for relatives to stay with, chooses her cousins at Cold Comfort Farm. Every one of them is neurotic and soaking up the cold comfort that oozes from every corner of the farm. Being a sensible, practical person, she endeavors to fix up the place and everyone in it: the result is quite hilarious with several laugh-out-loud moments. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
I have been planning to read this for some time, and had it on my Kindle from a “deal” a few years back--so, when the Classics group chose it, I decided the time was right. I find it so hard to write a review about a book that does nothing for me. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it--it is just floating around in la-la land for me.

It is meant to be a farce, a parody of society, but it misses the mark for me and just comes off as a bit silly and unrealistic (so the thing that makes it what it is supposed to be is also the thing that makes it hard to appreciate for me). I actually like a good farce. The Importance of Being Earnest always makes me laugh. So, I am thinking what is missing is the sharpness of wit. Perhaps that is a key ingredient for me, and I did not find it here.

I’m afraid this is going to just be one of those books that I get to cross off the list and will probably then completely forget about. Although, I might not forget about the cows.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
"The education bestowed on 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 the influenza or Spanish Plague which occurred in her twentieth year, she was discovered to possess every art and grace save that of earning her own living." (page 11 of this edition)

Having only a tiny inheritance, Flora decides she must find some relatives to stay with until she can find a way to make her way in the world. She has three distant relatives, including one in Scotland, one in Hertfordshire, one in Kensington who breeds dogs, and some distant cousins who live on a farm in Sussex. She writes to them promptly to see if anyone is willing to take her in, and gets only one offer, “written upon cheap lined paper, in a bold but illiterate hand” from her great aunt Ada Doom Starkadder of Cold Comfort Farm.

There Flora goes to settle as best she can on a farm “crouched on a bleak hill-side” with her hitherto unmet relatives, a lot as eccentric as any dreamed by the Brontë sisters, and as gloomy and bitter as any you would meet in a book by Thomas Hardy or D. H. Lawrence, only more so, comically more so. They constantly bicker with each other. The livestock on the farm consists of a horse aptly named Viper, Big Business, a bull confined permanently in the barn and cows named Feckless, Aimless, Pointless, and Graceless.

Aunt Ada rules the roost from her bedroom. She’s a recluse who only emerges occasionally to bemoan the fact that she once saw something that no child should ever see in the barn and hysterically claim that as a result of this trauma she will go mad if any member of the family should leave the farm. She also doles out the money sparingly to the family and the farm hands.

Flora decides that these poor people desperately need help. And with guidance gleaned from The Higher Common Sense by the Abbe Fausse-Maigre, and her own organizing skill she sets out to do it. With determination, skillful guile, and clever manipulation she achieves extremely satisfying results. ( )
  MaowangVater | Jul 13, 2022 |
Rereading it is just as satisfying as the last time. Funny, pragmatic Flora Poste sets out to organize her wayward farm relatives into better lives, and no gothic language or leering darkness will get in her way. Stella Gibbons has a thing or two to teach the Price and Prejudice and Zombies crowd about truly biting parody. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
Cold Comfort Farm definitely offers an impressive Happily Ever After story,
yet it is barely funny, and only enlivened by the movie featuring Rufus Sewell. ( )
  m.belljackson | Feb 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gibbons, Stellaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chast, RozIllustratorsecondary 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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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."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

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Flora has been expensively educated to do everything but earn her own living. When she is orphaned at 20, she decides her only option is to go and live with her relatives, the Starkadders, at Cold Comfort Farm. What relatives though. Flora feels it incumbent upon her to bring order into the chaos.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143039598, 0141441593, 0141045485, 0241951518

 

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