Stella Gibbons (1902 – 1989) was an English author and poet most famous for this novel – Cold Comfort Farm. Published in 1932, it’s a quintessentially British book which found success at the time, although her subsequent works received far less attention. Her most famous work has been adapted into a TV series and remains a literary classic, so we thought we’d cover it as we read it a few years back and, by Jove, we like the front cover with that lovely cow.
Unfortunately, we can’t say we’re much of a fan of Cold Comfort Farm as a novel, but we’re recommending it all the same as it might just be your cup of tea. If you like twee humour with a narrative which falls into place lovingly without any strife, then this could well be for you!
Cold Comfort Farm
The novel is a parody of rural life novels which were, apparently, all the rage in the literary world during the 1930s (at least in England). As a result, we have the protagonist Flora Poste who is a wealthy socialite, of sorts – she decides to head out to a farm and bond with her relatives as she really has nothing better to do with herself. Jesus… what the Hell would possess anyone to do that (the bonding with relatives bit)!?
Anyway, life in the countryside turns out to be far from rosy as she discovers her relatives are positively deranges, but endearing enough to hang around with. Over the course of the novel, Poste sets about transforming their lives positively before leaving in a whirlwind of loveliness. I say, how bloody super!
That’s pretty much it – there are certain “heartwarming” things we jaded folks at Professional Moron will never get our heads around, but we can imagine many bouts of jolly laughter from upper class sorts during the ’30s at this tale of English class stuff. Cold Comfort Farm is far from a bad novel, it’s just flat. Perhaps it was a much needed jolt in the 1930s, but now only one bit made us laugh (when Flora decides to run away from a football) and then that’s about it.
Hmmm… have we read one too many existential novels over the years? Well, there’s another twee novel from the era called My Family and Other Animals which playfully lampoons family and it does it quite magnificently. But, we’ll end this bout of wrath. If you think Cold Comfort Farm is for you, we’d be delighted if you enjoy. Plus, its front cover is brilliant!
In 1995 (the year before 1996), there was a film adaptation starring Joanne Lumley and a very young Kate Beckinsale – it was directed by John Schlesinger. As the book is considered “heartwarming” and all that, you may want to catch up with the film, yeah?
We’ve not watched it, but it would appear to capture the British eccentric thing which Gibbons was aiming at, so if this is your pot of tea then settle on down and just bloody well watch the thing, we say. But, you can also catch up with a more realistic English flick Withnail and I if you want something a tad more realistic.