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Highland Fling

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  466 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
The Scottish Highlands may never be the same after the Bright Young Things meet the Dull Old things on a long vacation at Dalloch. Jane Dacre finds painter Albert Gates irresistible, but the Old Regime is less enraptured, for Albert is an outrageous prankster.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1931 by Carroll & Graf Pub
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Jul 27, 2016 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

If I'd never read any of Nancy Mitford's other novels, then reading this, her first novel, wouldn't have encouraged me to do so. Not that it doesn't have its good points. For example, you can't fault Mitford for writing what she knew about; that is, the lifestyle of the English upper class and the goings on of Bright Young Things in the 1920s. And the novel has some genuinely funny moments, such as a description of proceedings in the House of Lords. But overall, the characters are superficial, t
Apr 25, 2015 Elizabeth added it
Shelves: scotland-fun
Oh look, I’ve finished another Nancy Mitford book!

This is her first. It doesn’t suffer for being her first, being just as full of sass and banter as any of the others, and possibly having even a bit more actual plot structure than some. And it’s set in Scotland! What’s not to like?

I finished this some time ago, then got hung up speed-reading for School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books, for which I was a judge, and though I wrote copious freeform reviews for all of them, I deemed it politic
Aug 19, 2015 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud funny!
Oct 30, 2013 Nigeyb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Highland Fling was Nancy Mitford's first novel. It was published in 1931. I have recently bought all of Nancy Mitford's novels, and intend to read all eight.

It was interesting and informative for me, as someone who is working through each of Nancy Mitford's novels chronologically, to note that Jane Smiley, here in The Los Angeles Review of Books differentiates between Nancy Mitford's four pre-war novels, and her four post-war novels
But there is no real sense, in the pre-war works, of the gran
Jul 17, 2014 Pamela rated it it was ok
I'm am profoundly happy that this was not the first novel I'd read by Mitford. Had it been I doubt I would have read any others. He writing and observations are, at best, superficial. Her characters are one dimensional and unbelievably absurd. There are traces of the wit and brilliant commentary that I've come to expect from reading her other works, but those aspects are painfully underdeveloped in Highland Fling.
Donna LaValley
Aug 04, 2015 Donna LaValley rated it liked it
Having enjoyed Love I A Cold Climate, I found 2 more of her short satires, this and Pigeon Pie. In Highland Fling, her theme of British aristocratic snobbery centers on the snobbery of the younger vs. the older generation. It takes place mostly in a Scottish Castle during a “shooting party.”

The elders, most of whom are Peers in the House of Lords (or Generals of WWI), come off as dinosaurs in thought and deed, while the younger come off as asinine “aesthetes” who feel they own the world of art
May 26, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Her first novel, not her best, but still a must for any Nancy Mitford fan (and let's face it, if you are not a Nancy Mitford fan, you are missing out). Certainly beats the heck out of a lot of other first novels I've read, and I think she was already really good, right out of the gate.

I bought this in the B&N store in Santa Monica -- that is a really good store, I was really impressed with what I found poking around in there. Anyway, at the very last minute I thought, oh let's just see if t
Definitely not one of Mitford's best. This one lacks the really remarkable humor that I've come to expect from Nancy Mitford books. Also, the characters were curiously dull -- a far cry from the endearingly perverse Radletts and Dougdales -- and I was disappointed to find myself simply not caring about them at all. Not an unpleasant read with which to while away a few summer hours, but overall unsatisfying.
Celia Montgomery
Jan 18, 2014 Celia Montgomery rated it liked it
Nancy Mitford's books are always funny, but they also have an interesting dark side. There's a lot of hidden content in this seemingly inconsequential book about "Bright Young Things" on a summer vacation in Scotland between the wars. Is creativity a condition of youth? Do you lose it with your innocence? Mitford keeps the plot humming in its absurd way. The best bit follows the main character as she experiences the misery and discomfort of a traditional English hunt.
Jul 19, 2016 Ellie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever and amusing.

I think Christmas Pudding was better, but this book is still an enjoyable read. It had a fun perspective on the Bright Young Things (which made for some hilarious moments!)

It's a good book, but not one of her best. I recommend that you read one of Nancy Mitford's other books before this one.
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Mitford March Mach Deux (March 2014)

Albert Gates has been in Paris making a name for himself as an artist. He is only returning to England, the land of creative blocks, because he has a show opening in the fall and he wishes to see his dear friends Walter and Sally Monteath. Turns out Walter and Sally are having a cash flow problem due to Walter's impecunious nature wherein he doesn't feel a lack of money should impact his
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Very much of its time and place. Nothing dates faster than contemporary satire. Mitford intended to send up her own set and her parents', and from what we read she acheived that purpose. At the time it was found hysterically funny--not least because many of the characters were identifiable with real folks at the time. However, the time was 1931, so the majority of those references will fall rather flat unless the modern reader is steeped in fiction and biography of the period. I am, to a certain ...more
Nov 13, 2016 J.C. rated it did not like it
Were the upper classes in England during the 1920s all this vapid and stupid?
Nancy McKibben
Oct 27, 2013 Nancy McKibben rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anglophiles
Highland Fling
By Nancy Mitford

Best-known for her comic novels Love in a Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love, set in the upper-crust of England in the 1940s, Nancy Mitford also wrote six other novels, less commonly available, that have now been re-issued by Vintage Books. Highland Fling is her first novel, written when she was just in her twenties. I was thrilled to see it appear in the New Books section of the local library.

Mitford was herself a part of the upper-crust about which she writes so
Camilla Tilly
A very disappointing book! As a social study of the time, it can have a point perhaps, showing the generation problem between the WWI generation and the generation that believed that there would never ever be another war since WWI was supposed to end all wars. The latter not appreciating what the previous generation did for them, not appreciating at all what they thought a complete waste of young men. Which of course WWI was. In 1931, when the book was written, more than one young man was ...more
Sep 28, 2016 Clarabel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage
Tout l'art de Nancy Mitford réside dans son talent de tailler des dialogues piquants et savoureux qui rendent les échanges fabuleusement cocasses ! Paru en Angleterre en 1931, Highland Fling est en fait le premier roman de l'auteur. Et celui-ci révèle déjà son penchant pour épingler ses contemporains en usant d'un humour mordant qui pique sournoisement cette bonne soirée bourgeoise de l'entre-deux-guerres, à la fois celle soucieuse des traditions, mais aussi celle frivole et inconséquente. On ...more
Dec 04, 2010 Jane rated it liked it
“… this was all very sudden and unexpected and has caused us inconvenience in a thousand ways, but the most unfortunate part of it is that we had arranged, as usual, several large hunting parties at Dalloch Castle, I wrote and asked your father and mother if they would go up there and act as host and hostess, but Sylvia tells me that they have to pay their annual visit to Baden just then. It occurred to me that perhaps you and Walter are doing nothing during August and September, in which case i ...more
Nov 14, 2016 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent beach read!
Nov 14, 2012 Jo rated it liked it
This is the second time this year when I've read the first book by an author I like and wondered if I'd be a fan of them if I'd started with their debut (the other was Christopher Isherwood's All The Conspirators). I'm a huge fan of The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate to the extent that I've lost count of how many times I've read them, especially the former, but Highland Fling is definitely an early effort. It's not bad, but it doesn't sparkle like those books do.

Still, if you expect
Sep 18, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it
HIGHLAND FLING. (1931). Nancy Mitford. ****.
This was Ms. Mitford’s first novel, and her style was already apparent. She manages to lampoon all of the titled English men and women as they existed between the two wars. At that time, the group earls, dukes, ladys, etc., were still around, but their money was mostly gone. If they had any income, they lived from quarter to quarter. Mostly, they ignored the bills that kept coming in, to the frustration of the various vendors. The setting for this nove
Eleanor Luhar
I can't say there are many classic novels that I've really enjoyed, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book when I really focused on it. It is a comedy, and I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't appreciate the humour as the book was originally published back in 1931. I will admit that I maybe didn't enjoy it as much as I could have, but I did quite like it and find it quite interesting.

It follows Albert Gates, an artist who has moved to Paris, as he accompanies friends to Dalloch Castle in t
Oct 11, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Oh, Nancy. I long to be a character out of one of your books, even if it is one of your earlier efforts.

Walter and Sally Monteath are madly in love but very poor (though, of course, Sally's engagement ring comes from Cartier and the couple celebrates their engagement with a champagne-fueled night at the Ritz). Sally's aunt and uncle ask her to housesit their castle in Scotland, which, to Sally's mind, is a perfect way to economize. They invite the flamboyant writer Albert, late from Paris, and
Nobody is ever going to claim that this is Nancy Mitford best work, but it is her first one, and she was very young when she wrote it. However, it does give with glimpses of the wit and satire that she later came to turn so effectively on her own kind. The author came from a fascinating family and social milieu, and gives us glimpses into extravagant absurdity of this world: that of the British aristocracy between the wars. We are not always sure whether she approves or not of some of the ...more
russell barnes
Apr 20, 2012 russell barnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rob manwaring
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I adore Nancy Mitford, and so naturally I wanted to read some of her earlier work. This being her first novel, it has that familiar Mitford satirical style, but where her celebrated wit is so cutting, focused and hilarious in her later work, it is clearly in the early, undefined stages here. If this was by any other author, this would be a most acceptable inoffensive novel, but knowing her later capabilities, it is not up to par with her later work.

Worth a read, particularly if a fan of Mitford.
Oct 11, 2015 Alicia rated it liked it

I have no idea why Duke recently added this to their e-book collection, but I am never gonna complain about access to Nancy Mitford! This is her first novel, so not really as compelling as some of her later work, but entertaining for sure. It's mostly all set at a house party in Scotland, where some Bright Young Things have a bit of a generation gap with the older attendees. There are shenanigans, a romance, and a lot of silliness. This definitely has Mitf
Aug 30, 2014 Leena rated it it was amazing
My first impression was that every character in this book was completely absurd. But towards the end, I started to like them all (while still thinking they were absurd). I enjoyed the contrast between the generations -- how each was more apt to embrace change and also to cling to their ideals.

I found it very funny. By the time we got to the art show, I was crying.

This book has the… harshness of someone's first novel, but I didn't mind that. It was about youth, after all. I often find young peop
Jun 25, 2013 Scuzzymonster rated it it was ok
This was Mitford's first novel and isn't regarded as one of her best. I found it interesting enough but almost entirely without plot, and with main characters which are hard to relate to or like. It is definitely not as good as Love in a Cold Climate, but has some similarities, particularly the fact that the climax of the story seemed to come in the middle, and then the book just carried on for awhile before finishing abruptly. Some parts of the book are genuinely funny, but overall I can't help ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Rosemary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is Nancy Mitford's first novel and I wonder how she felt about it later. There are a few funny moments at the beginning but it soon drifts into dreariness. I expected to like it a lot more than I did.

The younger generation of characters, supposedly the Bright Young Things, are childish and unsympathetic. The older generation are caricatures.

It shows a lack of understanding between the generations that I'm sure did exist, even if it's exaggerated here. If the Bright Young Things were really
Feb 05, 2011 Sumit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Primordial chicklit; incoherent, unfunny and not so much full of Bright Young Things as Unsympathetic Workshy Fops. Some historical interest - the Victorian period was to the characters in this book as the 1960s are to us - but that doesn't overcome the stilted narrative and dislikeable protagonists. Time may not have been kind to this book - Mitford's first and probably worst - but I suspect it was never much good. A pity, because I originally intended to read one of her later books but I'm not ...more
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Nancy Mitford, CBE (28 November 1904, London – 30 June 1973, Versailles), styled The Hon. Nancy Mitford before her marriage and The Hon. Mrs Peter Rodd thereafter, was an English novelist and biographer, one of the Bright Young People on the London social scene in the inter-war years. She was born at 1 Graham Street (now Graham Place) in Belgravia, London, the eldest daughter of Lord Redesdale and ...more
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“To make matters worse, Linda, it appears, is madly in love with a monster of a Scotsman, who came to dinner last night in his kilt. Those hairy old knees decided us. "The Mountains I can bear," said Loudie. "Natives in the semi-nude at dinner time is another matter. I leave tomorrow.” 3 likes
“Suddenly, just in time, I realised that he was a filthy Hun, so of course I turned my back on him and refused to shake hands. I think he noticed; anyway, I hope so. I hope he felt his position - General Murgatroyd” 2 likes
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