Monday, 30 October 2017

COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbons

I had a bit of a DEFCON 5 moment while on holiday in Cyprus when I ran out of reading matter.  I borrowed a book from our host for a day at the beach, choosing a re-reread, Stella Gibbon's classic COLD COMFORT FARM.  I recalled this as being a delightful, easy read, about the power of a comic worldview.  It tells the story of a young woman who goes to live with her relatives in a farmhouse that is a sort of mix of the worst of Hardy, Bronte, and Laurence.  She resolves the various issues - incest, madness, etc -  with a jolly mix of common sense and cleanliness. 

I always approach re-reading with a degree of trepidation.  You don't want to risk a happy memory for an uncertain actual experience.  However, I need not have worried about COLD COMFORT FARM.   It's refreshing, as I recalled, though a good deal more dated than I remembered.  I guess what I held on to is its message - of how comedy trumps tragedy - rather than its style.  

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