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El círculo de Farthing (Small Change #1)

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3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,019 Ratings  ·  570 Reviews
Un fin de semana del verano de 1949 el «círculo de Farthing», un grupo bien relacionado de la flor y nata de las familias inglesas, disfruta de unos días en el campo. Lucy es la hija menor de una de esas familias. Sus padres fueron destacados personajes dentro del grupo que derrocó a Churchill y negoció la paz con Hitler ocho años antes.

Lucy está felizmente casada con un
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 10th 2008 by La Factoría de Ideas (first published 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lyn
Mar 01, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My initial thoughts on reading Farthing by Jo Walton was: why do an alternate history? It’s been done before, and in a lot of ways, what can this quiet, minimalist Welsh author do for this side street sub-genre of the speculative fiction highway?

Phillip K. Dick wrote The Man in the High Castle, published in 1962, where the Axis had won, but here, there has been a stalemate between England and Nazi Germany. Hitler has turned east, and after a peace accord has been signed, he turns on the Russian
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Carol.
Apr 24, 2013 Carol. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: um. no one?
Alas, another case of the right reader, wrong book. I went into Farthing with rather high expectations, I confess. I saw Walton has won a couple of awards for other works--including the World Fantasy Award--and this one was nominated for a Nebula and Locus, among others. When this series got several mentions on The Incomparable (produced by 5by5), a podcast series devoted to all things geek sci-fi, I became tempted to try it. When the book arrived from the library, I was surprised to discover it ...more
Nick Fagerlund
Jun 28, 2008 Nick Fagerlund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good-natured little cozy mystery about power, privilege, fascism, genocide, evil, and tea.

I lie, it's not good-natured in the slightest. It is, however, good. Go read it.
Sherwood Smith
Walton has a knack for taking a specific story (such as the utterly splendid Tooth and Claw that uses Trollope's Framley Parsonage and crosses it with dragons, getting a sum greater than both parts) or a storyline (like Arthuriana) and crossing it orthogonally so that both are transformed into something altogether different. And yet one can see traces of each source. Being a visual being, I can only compare it to the color prism we used as kids, when we laid the yellow glass circle over the edge ...more
Barbara
Jun 06, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: Sue
Farthing: a small historical British coin.
Farthings: A group of villages which are home to a privileged group of politically connected people, called "The Farthing Set".

The main thrust of this novel takes place at a weekend retreat of "The Farthing Set", people who are politically well-connected and all with the "proper pedigrees". The time is designated as 1949, which can be somewhat confusing, because this group was allegedly instrumental in a Peace Treaty with Hitler in 1940, but this is afte
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Rob
May 06, 2008 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: Boing Boing
Haiku review:
How can you expect
a happy end in a book
where Hitler still reigns?


Review:
Though a bit slower to start than I expected, Farthing was (overall) an outstanding allegory on fascism disguised as an alternate history novel disguised as a murder mystery. By the time you're about one-quarter to one-third of the way through it, you will have trouble putting it down. The attention to the language is excellent (though I found myself pining for a bit of Irvine Welsh-style slang and cockney) and
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Marijan
Feb 12, 2016 Marijan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zašto petica? Knjiga je napisana s puno detalja, truda, istraživanja. Imaš osjećaj da si stvarno glavnom liku u glavi i na trenutke zaboraviš da čitaš knjigu. A povijesna podloga mi je puno uvjerljivija nego recimo Deightonov SS-GB (isto odlična knjiga). osim jednog malog blesavog detalja koji me grebao kao biologa/medicinara, ostalo je, moram reći, izvrsno. dakle 4.5 zaokruženo na 5. jedva čekam nastavak.
Dorian
Dec 10, 2007 Dorian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody!
Thoughts on Jo Walton's Farthing and its sequel Ha'Penny:

Really, these are the most delightful, most exciting, most troubling, most resonant books I've read in a long time. Yes, they're genre fiction, which means they'll be dismissed by some. And what a dreadful shame that would be--I wish these books were talked about as much as some of the things that pass for "literary fiction" these days.

Even at the level of genre, they're interesting: mystery/thriller much inspired by 20s & 30s Golden A
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
On the back cover is a wonderfully written blurb/review from Publishers Weekly - I wish I could write like this! So succinct!

"World Fantasy Award-winner Jo Walton (Tooth and Claw) crosses genres without missing a beat with this stunningly powerful alternative history set in 1949, eight years after Britain agreed to peace with Nazi Germany, leaving Hitler control of the European continent. A typical gethering at the country estate of Farthing of the power elite who brokered the deal is thrown int
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Jon
Sep 09, 2010 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: Alternative Wolrd Sep 2010 Selection
I feel mostly dissatisfied after reading Farthing, especially after hearing all the hype. As a mystery, it proved unchallenging. As alternate history, it intrigued me, but left me wanting more depth, more worldbuilding. I could have done without the addition of another second class citizen group, besides the already persecuted Jews.

The writing style reminded me of Agatha Christie (but not as well done) and Dorothy Sayers (again, not quite as well done). I would have preferred a narrative told f
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Hirondelle
Oct 10, 2010 Hirondelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jaylia3
Oct 01, 2015 Jaylia3 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Deftly blended, this combination of an alternate world history with an English country house mystery opens in 1949, but it’s not exactly the 1949 or England we know. Eight years earlier a group of conservative, anti-semitic politicians known as the “Farthing set” made peace with Nazi Germany, securing Britain’s borders after most of continental Europe had fallen to Hitler. The Germans continue to fight the Soviets, the American president is isolationist Charles Lindbergh, and the Jews left in Eu ...more
Margaret
Jo Walton is very good at taking something familiar and putting an unfamiliar, intriguing spin on it. Previously, she's done this with King Arthur (The King's Peace and The King's Name), Irish mythology (The Prize in the Game), and Victorian society as written about by Anthony Trollope (Tooth and Claw). In Farthing, she takes the traditional English country mystery, adds in alternate history, and comes up with something new and brilliant.

Lucy Kahn has come to her parents' country house, Farthing
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Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
My local library system has three copies of this book, at three different branches. One branch files it under science fiction, one branch files it under fiction. At my library I tracked it down in the mystery section. What is it, then? Like Jasper Fforde's Tuesday Next books, it is set in an alternate England in which certain wars went another way than in real life. Also like Tuesday Next, the protagonist's brother was killed at war, and she married his best friend. That's where the similarity e ...more
Siria
This is such a great read: an old-fashioned country house mystery novel set within an alternate history premise: what if Hess' mission to the UK had succeeded, and Britain and the Reich had made peace in 1941? It's told from the alternating viewpoints of Lucy Eversley Kahn, the daughter of a conservative viscount who's married a Jewish man in spite of the disapproval of her family, and of Inspector Carmichael, the policeman assigned to investigate the murder of the leading politician Sir James T ...more
Nikki
Farthing is set in an alternate-history world where Britain made peace with Hitler instead of continuing to fight. Jews are still tolerated in Britain, although they're not precisely loved by the aristocracy, and probably not by the regular people either -- though we see less of those. At the start of the book, that doesn't seem very important, perhaps, to the story. It's a country house murder mystery, with a multitude of people with motive and secrets they're keeping. There's some red herrings ...more
MadProfessah
Sep 11, 2015 MadProfessah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
My two favorite genres are science fiction and murder mystery so I was very excited to read this book by Jo Walton which is about a murder at a country British estate of the man responsible for negotiating a peace with Germany's Fuhrer in 1941, leading to a "Peace with Honour" that ends World War II and cedes Europe to the Nazis.

Unfortunately the alternative history elements are a bit too subtle and the main characters are Inspector Carmichael (who is a closeted gay man in an era where homosexua
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Jackie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Trin
A rec from Wychwood, and a goodie. What seems like an ordinary English country house mystery has dark political motivations and implications, as Walton gradually reveals more and more about this alternate 1949, one in a world where Britain made peace with Hitler in early 1941. Brr.

Walton does a great job of showing how ordinary, and in some cases, perfectly decent people can be affected by prejudice and by the removal of certain freedoms. Lucy, who carries half the POV, is a wonderfully-construc
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Kim
This is a novel I will think about for a long time. I simultaneously dreaded the possible conclusion and couldn't stop reading until I got there. The main protagonists are engaging and the alternating first person and third person narrative allows the point of view to shift in an interesting and natural way. The premise, of course, is shocking: Britain in 1949, having made peace with Nazi Germany, sliding into fascism. It is a salutary reminder of how little it takes for the future of a people a ...more
Shelli
Jun 11, 2013 Shelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013, audio
I really enjoyed this. What if....Hitler and Britain made a peace agreement in 1941. What would the world be like? This unique little novel delves into this alternate history and tells the story of a murder mystery. While not extremely fast-paced, I found it engaging and I got involved with the characters. We meet the "Farthing set" a group of well to do and well connected people who basically "rule" England of this time. We also get a glimpse of the "have nots" and what it feels like to be Jewi ...more
Tracey
This was a very odd book. I enjoyed most of it, but it was very odd. It took a bit of mental calisthenics to adapt to a 1949 London in which "Old Adolph admired England and had no territorial ambitions across the channel". Because this world's Old Adolph most certainly had all sorts of ambitions across the channel; he was drooling to get into London and execute the entire royal family.

Rather than that straight-forward and outright horror, the horror in this book is … sneakier.

"In May of 1941,
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Nikki
Halfway through rereading this, I stalled for a moment, thinking about the ending. See, the book starts out seeming pretty fun, despite the dark threats in the background: there's plainly loving pastiche of Dorothy L. Sayers going on, and Lucy Kahn's narration is lively and silly. All of that disguises, for a while, how serious the themes turn -- and when they do, when the bottom of Carmichael's life drops out, you'll feel it too. I quoted Dar Williams' song Buzzer when I first reviewed this, an ...more
Katharine
Nov 05, 2008 Katharine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, mystery
Farthing is a story about how injustice creeps into a society, framed as a murder mystery set in an alternate-universe England.

A lord is murdered at a country house party, which is a setup you'd find in Christie or Marsh. But this is an England at peace with Hitler in 1949, and where personal freedom is disappearing little by little for supposedly noble reasons. In fact, the way the book slips in political commentary while keeping you interested in the mystery, almost reflects the way the pol
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Deb
Mar 17, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Farthing is a neat blend of Golden-Age mystery, alternative history and political thriller. The story starts with the quintessential English country-house weekend, and you know immediately that someone's going to get offed. Our victim is Sir James Thirkie, who is found dead in a guest room with a yellow star pinned to his chest. The chief suspect is David Kahn, the Jewish husband of the daughter of the household, who presumably hated Thirkie's role in forging England's peace agreement with Hitle ...more
Sandi
Nov 25, 2008 Sandi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Murder Mysteries and Alternate History
Shelves: 2008, cross-genre
“Farthing” by Jo Walton is an engaging murder mystery with a style and setting that reminds me of an Agatha Christie novel. The twist is that it’s set in a 1940’s Britain that negotiated a peace treaty with Hitler in 1939 to stop the Blitz. Hitler agreed to leave Britain alone and Britain agreed to let Hitler have the entire European continent. Now, it would be very easy for this alternative history novel to fall into a “Gee, look how different this is!” mode. However, “Farthing” works because i ...more
Lucy
Jul 24, 2007 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start off by saying, this is a brilliant book. Go read this book. Go out and buy it, or take it out of the library, or borrow it, and read it now. It's a brilliant read, but it's also a chilling social commentary. Everyone should read it.

Eight years ago, England made peace with Hitler. This peace was largely a political movement of a group of noblemen known as the Farthing set. Lucy Eversley is a daughter of the Farthing set, who has displeased her parents and their peers by marrying Davi
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rivka
Jul 07, 2008 rivka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After a few chapters in, I hadn't decided yet which disturbs me more: the Jew-Gentile intermarriage (and more, the casual way his Judaism is dismissed as nothing more than cultural) or the notion of a 1949 where the Third Reich is still intact (if constrained to its borders) and Hitler is still alive. I never did decide.

The narrator is quite confusing at times (clearly a deliberately unreliable narrator, as is not infrequently the case in murder mysteries). In fact, she goes on for several pages
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Beth Cato
Jul 12, 2014 Beth Cato rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, mystery, 2014
Oh wow. This was the kind of book where you want an excuse to have doctor appointments or long care rides, just so you can keep on reading. Foremost, its a mystery novel in the grand tradition of Agatha Christie. However, the alternative history component is not mere window-dressing--it's everything. Britain declared a cease fire with Germany in 1941 and by 1949 has slid into their own sort of fascism. The scope of racism and homophobia in the book is horrifying because it feels so real.

Despite
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Jo Walton writes science fiction and fantasy novels and reads a lot and eats great food. It worries her slightly that this is so exactly what she always wanted to do when she grew up. She comes from Wales, but lives in Montreal.
More about Jo Walton...

Other Books in the Series

Small Change (3 books)
  • Ha'penny (Small Change, #2)
  • Half a Crown (Small Change, #3)

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“Yet I felt he was innocent in a way I was not, that I knew more about evil than he ever could, because he had parents who loved him and wanted the best for him, while I had grown up with Mummy.” 5 likes
“They hang people for murder, and while I didn't exactly like Mummy, she was my mother after all. Though do they hang Viscountesses?” 3 likes
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