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Faith Fox: A Novel
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Faith Fox: A Novel

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  244 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Faith Fox has led a life full of heartbreak and abandonment, lacking in simplicity and love—and she's not even one week old. She has suffered the unexpected and inexplicable loss of her mother in childbirth; her father, an overworked doctor grown callous with stress, has neither the ability nor the interest to take on the difficult task of raising his child alone; her gran...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 16th 2005 by Carroll & Graf (first published 1996)
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Written in 1996 and published in the US in 2003, "Faith Fox" reveals the story of a group of family members, friends and strangers, connected by a baby whose mother has just died during her birth. Their journey, which takes them from London to Yorkshire, reveals their kindness and prejudice, their dreams and heartaches, and allows them to find faith at many levels during this journey.

Two brothers stand at the center of the novel. Andrew Braithwaite, a doctor, the father of Faith Fox, takes littl...more
I am loving this book! Great, solid writing and characters. Magnificant, touching and funny--reminds me of an Iris Murdoch novel, which is a very good thing. I am totally running out and reading all of her stuff.
A collection of veddy British characters, at first so many they were hard to keep track of, but they came to life under Ms Gardam's clever writing. Difficult to follow. Not her best.
A book by Jane Gardam is always a treat: 'Old Filth' had me in thrall a while back, so I was eager to get stuck into Faith Fox. And at first I was hooked. The various voices in the novel: worthy women from the Surrey stockbroker belt, a disparate group existing in eccentric poverty on the North York Moors, a lone 11 year old, an elderly and somewaht cantankerous couple, a widowed doctor all rang true as I read the tale from each of their very different points of view. We never meet the woman who...more
Synopsis from book: Faith Fox, set in early '90s Britain, centers around newborn Faith Fox, the daughter of the sweet, healthy, and hearty pearl of her Surrey village, Holly Fox, who inexplicably dies in childbirth. Faith's father can't and won't look after her. Holly's mother—a matron from Surrey's gin-and-tonic belt who is ostensibly full of good nature, good sense, and sociability—refuses to acknowledge the baby whose birth killed the daughter she loved. And so an extraordinary group of famil...more
Really 2.5 stars.

This book just couldn't win me over. Not the style - situational and disjointed, not the characters - too many and not all well delineated, and not the story - no depth, it felt like a movie jumping from one farcical incident to another.

I enjoyed "God on the Rocks", one of her early books. It was also BBC situational but more descriptive and solid. Seems most people on this site claim "Old Filth" to be their favorite. If or when I get back to Gardam, that will be next.
Marcus Ward
This book may not move along like a pulp paperback, but once again I am loving Jane Gardam's use of words and character. I love hearing their voices. It's like each one's own struggles come out on the page in a way that is memorable and keeps the story moving.

Not a page turner by any means but if you are tucked away and are looking for character and setting to take you away for a few hours, this book like her others does it.
Loved this book. Jane Gardam has the capacity to create characters who are so much themselves and so much more than themselves - standing for the typical British personality from all classes and backgrounds. The author has the ear and vision to be able to write about people one can instantly see and she has the capacity to combine tragedy and comedy all at once whilst still being very realistic. I was expecting more about Faith Fox - the baby's - life story to be told but when I realised it was...more
Nophoto-f-25x33 This was a good light read. Jane Gardam mercilessly skewers the British upper class yet again as she peels back the layers of customary politeness and reveals snobbery and selfishness beneath. The story revolves around the birth of a baby whose mother dies in childbirth who is passed from hand to hand as no-one in her family wishes to take care of her. She is delivered to her uncle, a charismatic priest who runs a delapidated and failing Priory where he is so invovled in what he...more
I liked the beginning (English humor) and the ending. Loved the ending - but I wouldn't have appreciated the ending unless I muddled through the middle.

Loved some of the characters - others not so much.
I enjoyed this trip to a very English circus: earthy, sparkling, darkness and stars, eccentric and familiar. Out of the three rings, Gardam draws Christmas as it is now and always in a changing world.
Jane Gardam is one of my new-found favorite authors and this, too is a good book, though every character save Faith Fox, Toots, Dotty and Phillip has no redeeming qualities until Faith's grandmother comes around at the end. Could be a scathing portrait of the increased selfishness of humans in this age where it has become easier than ever to minimize contact with others, and get lost in one's own little world with no regard for others. These characters aren't meant to be mean-spirited, I don't b...more
Dec 28, 2007 Laurel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes loads of eccentric characters
Shelves: just-finished
It took me awhile to get into this book as there are a lot of characters to sort through...but by the end I was really happy to be reading it and following most but not all of these folks through their stories. Everyone except perhaps young Phillip,crazy old Madeleine, and Toots and Dolly (they deserve a book of their own...the passages about them are so vivid and believable) are busy busy busy doing exactly what they should not be doing...skirting the real issues at hand and being completely se...more
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This is the second of her novels that I have attempted, and both times I started with vigor, only to be bored, and then skimming. I get that they are about British class and regionalism, but I just don't really like her style of writing. Eerything happens to slow for me and I feel that I am totally missing all the nuanced about British classism. Well, I tried. Back to being a stupid American reader, I suppose.
This book has some really great character portaits. In particular the Surrey set are exquisitely and hilariously portayed, made even more hilarious by the contrast with down to earth and Northern Toots, Dolly and Philip. I think the North-South divide is somewhat cariacatured, but that doesn't detract from this truly entertaining read. I haven't come across Jane Gardam before, but will look out for more titles by her.
This book had a couple of wonderful chapters right smack in the middle of the book & another wonderful chapter at the end, but for the most part there were too many not particularly likable or interesting, mostly aristocratic English characters not sufficiently bound by a compelling story for me to get caught up in these few months of their lives after the one character who binds them together dies in childbirth.
It was weird through and through. I decided early on that I was going to finish it "just because." When I finished it I thought that was a stupid decision. I can't really think of anything good to say about it. I don't think I've gained anything from the exposure to a different author or the genre (if that's what it is). Should have quit sooner and moved on to something more interesting or worthwhile.
Didn't really like it apart from the chapter about Pammie after her husband's death. There were so many characters, mostly unappealing and there was a confusing mish mash of things going on. If Madeleine, Jocasta, Pem, the General, Puffy, the Smikes and the Missus were edited out of the story I might have enjoyed it. But the the main character Andrew, would still be there, and he was not attractive.
Jane Gardam has won many awards for her books. Very little plot here. Young mother dies in childbirth. Father too busy (a doctor) to care for baby girl. Grandmother distraught. Baby is sent to live with uncle in Northern England who is a minister and runs a "home". The beauty of this book is the characters. Everyone is very British and flawed.
Peopled with eccentric (but credible) and some great characters - I think it's a big love story - about doting unconditional parental love and deep spousal love and erotic obsession and carelessly casual love. I wonder if it's a bit about our obsession with our own image and affairs blinding us to what's important.
Look - I love Jane Gardam - but I can see why it's Old Filth that has won the awards. This is a book about English grief - i most enjoyed the portrait of Theodora Fox and the many commuter-belt ladies of a certain age that she represents - but ultimately I was un-moved by the story...
I haven't been able get beyond the first 30 pages. The story's premise is too complicated to concentrate on, with so much distraction in my life right now.
Jun 17, 2007 puck rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like circular stories about... everything. and anglophiles.
this book goes everywhere. it's not at all what i had expected - it was more amusing, more heartbreaking, more everything. less boring. it has a feeling of needing a more grounded context than where i'm currently at, somehow, but it was intriguing all the way through.
Oh the wit is there, but it is so convoluted and difficult to follow! Perhaps because it is so entrenched in British sectional and provincial connotation? Or because the characters are often rather unlikable? I did not connect well. This is far from her best, IMHO.
I had never heard of Jane Gardam before someone gave me this book. I liked it a lot. She has an acerbic wit that appeals to my sense of the ridiculous. I picked up three more of her titles at a used book store. Watch this space for more... and read this book!
Deb Yarrall
Witty, subtle and brilliant.
Inconsequential, loosely-written story. I liked the character of Philip and wish the author had limited herself to his point-of-view. Instead, we are treated to everyone's inner life and end up caring little about any of them. Ho, hum.
Oct 28, 2008 Krob added it
What an unusual book! The title character, Faith Fox, never really appears in the book. She is an orphaned infant, and the story is about all of the people who take care of her. The author won several prizes in Great Britain.
Meh. This book started out as intriguing but fell short for me, and I found myself skimming. Maybe I need to read more British authors? Anyone have a recommendation for a book written by an exciting British author?
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Jane Mary Gardam OBE is a British author of children's and adult fiction. She also reviews for the Spectator and the Telegraph, and writes for BBC radio. She lives in Kent, Wimbledon and Yorkshire. She has won numerous literary awards including the Whitbread Award, twice. She is mother of Tim Gardam, Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford. Jane has been awarded the Heywood Hill Literary Prize for...more
More about Jane Gardam...
Old Filth (Old Filth, #1) The Man in the Wooden Hat (Old Filth, #2) Last Friends (Old Filth, #3) The Queen of the Tambourine God on the Rocks

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