My December read for The Classics Book Club was Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. Although it was a thoroughly enjoyable book, it seems the only solid time I had to read was when I was working and what with the holidays and my new found love of Skype, even then there was precious few minutes to devote to this classic.
Firstly many have said, complained really, that CCF is not a classic at all. It is just an old book. Published in the 1930s, some would even claim that CCF is not old enough to be a classic. I think yes, it is quite true when some book or movie comes out and the tagline is "destined to become a classic" that rings my "doubt meter." So whether or not the reader want to consider CCF a classic is fine by me.
Incidentally I pulled these titles off a list that was compiled by really smart book people, so CCF is a classic to me.
The basic storyline is a young woman is left with a small monthly inheritance after her parents die. The amount of money is too small to live on in London, so her friends advise her to get a job. She doesn't want a job and schemes to live with distant relatives in exchange for the monthly allotment. So she sets out to write to five separate aunts or cousins and waits to hear a reply. She wants to pick the most unusual situation, so she can write about her experiences in a memoir when she hits her middle years.
Guess where she moves to? Book title.
This is really a character study, and I mean character, and I find my favorite fiction is often heavy with character study, so CCF get full bars and all the stars.
Highly descriptive with turning phrases, it was funny. And I really liked the main character, Flora. I think that is important. I have to care about somebody in a fictional work. Anybody will do. It does not have to be the main character. It doesn't even really have to be a human. So I should say I have to care about somebody or something in a fictional work.
Oh yes I finally figured out "the wink" in Voltaire's Candide. He must have cried laughing at all the people touching the hems of greatness. A must read from now till the end of time.
Back to CCF - I found it interesting that at the same time I was reading CCF, I was watching the first season of Dexter. Not at the exact same time, but time frame. At any rate, they both had this "something nasty happened in the woodshed" arc, which is a clever little plot device. I mean the viewer wants to know "what happened?" Right?
Of course, I'm not going to tell you.
And they both sightly nod to the audience like you see what I'm doing because I have to do what I'm doing, you see.
It's wonderful when the various passions in life overlap. Almost spooky.