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Cold Comfort Farm (Cold Comfort Farm)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  23,643 ratings  ·  1,861 reviews
A witty portrait of rural England in the early twentieth century.

When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. At the aptly-named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doomed Starkadders: cousin Judith, heaving with remorse for unspoken wickedness; Amos, preaching fire and damnation;
Hardcover, First edition, 232 pages
Published September 8th 1932 by Longmans
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Oct 30, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of waugh and the 1930s
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
I imagine that Stella Gibbons wrote Cold Comfort Farm from the artfully distressed comfort of a small garret-like room. Clad in a light tweed and perched gracefully in front of an oversized front strike, Smith-Corona type writer with a cup of tea in bone china cup and saucer just out of reach of the return of the barrel of the typewriter. I can also imagine her gently cackling to herself in polite and proper manner as she clattered out the lines which would come together to form the world of Col ...more
Nineteen year old Flora Poste, freshly orphaned and impossibly jaunty, decides to live with strange, barely civilized relatives in rural Sussex. The Starkadders are a mix of fire and brimstone religiosity, untrammeled sexual urges, pathological family ties, feigned mental illness, and general slovenliness. Cold Comfort Farm is a 1932 parody of Thomas Hardy, the Brontës, and D.H. Lawrence, with themes of Pygmalion and the meddling of Emma Woodhouse thrown in, and jabs at Eugene O'Neill, avant gar ...more
Matthew Gatheringwater
This may be one of the funniest books ever written and I pick it up whenever I feel inclined to have a whine and a moan. The protagonist, Flora Poste, is a bracing antidote for anyone inclined to be a sad sack. A student of the higher common sense, she understands that there are few troubles in life than cannot be set to rights or at least ameliorated by good hygiene, good manners, correct thoughts, and the proper foundation garments.

What I admire most about Flora is her unwillingness to give in
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 17, 2013 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
Shelves: 1001-core, comedy, british
Frankly, I used to think that British humor was bland until while I was reading this book. This is so funny that even if I didn't probably get some of the nuances of the 30's small farm in Howling, Sussex because of the town folk's different dialects, the scenes are hilarious. Imagining them and converting those situations to our local barrio, makes me want to forget my dream of writing a memoir and instead write a similar short novel like this. Probably with my hometown, specifically the coconu ...more
Mike Puma
Review, of sorts, may be found in Message 1.

Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.

Stella Gibbons turns her attention instead on having a good time and on romance, penning a rusticated novel of manners in which Flora Poste, a highly educated and sophisticated young lady from the London high society sets out to clear up the muddle of Cold Comfort Farm. The unprepared reader might be tempted to compare Gibbons with P G Wodehouse, and at least in one aspect, he/she will not be far off the mark : this is a laugh out loud comedy displaying
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
If, like me, you've seen the 1996 movie adaptation of Cold Comfort Farm, with Kate Beckinsale, Ian McKellan, Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry and Rufus Sewell (mmmm yum!), you'll know that there have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm and that Aunt Ada Doom saw something "narsty" in the woodshed when she was two. God I wish I had a memory like that! All the joys of the movie and more are in the book, a wonderful, clever, readable satire of the classic rural novel et al Thomas Hardy and the l ...more
Barry Pierce
Eh, it just wasn't for me. I really wanted to like this but it just felt too... saccharine. The sweetness of it turned sour in my mind. However, the writing is good and very simplistic, nobody would find any trouble with it. The cast of characters are very memorable and incredibly idiosyncratic. I did enjoy the parody of the novels of Hardy and the Brontës and such but it was very hit and miss for me. Oh well.
Stella Gibbons' affectionately comical nod to traditional Victorian novels had me laughing on the third page, when she explained a minor character's passion for her unparalleled, world-renowned collection of brassières. The characters in this book are so vividly realized, and they are all the more ridiculous for how seriously they take themselves.

The basic story, for anyone who is interested: When she is nineteen years old, Flora Poste's parents die, and as she does not want to earn her living,
This is one of those books I've been trying to avoid for a while, inexplicably since I saw the 1995 movie, of which I remembered very little except for two words: Rufus. Sewell.

Oh, Rufus. It was this movie that made me fall for him, and then I saw Dark City, and that was it. Smitten. Don't ask me to explain it. I cannot. It would just be a stuttering mess of an anatomy lesson: "Cheekbones! Guh, eyes!" I don't know. It's just... when I see him, dirty things start happening inside. Maybe because i

"We are not like other folk, maybe, but there have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm..."

Cold Comfort Farm is a classic novel that aims to subvert the idea of the 'farmhouse novel'. Stella Gibbons is good enough with her use of language certainly, but the plot itself fails in the delivery. By which I mean that, at times, the development of the story was rushed in favour of delivering an idea.

What Gibbons is great at, however, is using nuance and subtlety. She creates a commentary on so
I found this story positively delightful. It is true, what you hear, that it is very put-down-able, but that is something I appreciate about it. And it definitely picks up steam about halfway through. It is about a very sensible girl, who uses her good sense to clean up a family. I think it’s a lot like Polyanna (I’ve only seen the Hayley Mills movie, but I imagine the book has to be pretty similar), but creepy instead of saccharine. It has this P.G. Wodehouse feel of calm irony in the face of d ...more
Dec 07, 2007 Beli_grrl rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Good-humored Austen/Bronte
My review here is primarily a compare/contrast between the movie and the book.

Having seen the movie several times in recent years it was hard to dissociate the film from the book. I wish I had read the book first for a more pure experience. This is one of those rare occasions when I think I enjoyed the movie a little more. But that's probably because I saw it first.

In the book, Flora Post is a more ironic character than in the movie. In the movie, Flora's character type is parodied only very ge
Jun 29, 2008 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Starkadders
My love for the film version of this book is a bit ridiculous. I mean, I could watch it over and over and over and over again. It makes me smile just to think about it. Haven't we all seen something nasty in the woodshed?

The book is also highly pleasurable. Part of the pleasure for me, is just in remembering those extraordinary scenes I'd seen on-screen - but the NEW pleasure is the absolute genius of Stella Gibbons' prose. I mean, damn, she can write a funny sentence even while describing some
Beware when the suke-bind is in bud! A fantastic, jocular flip-off to the natural, melancholy country novels of Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence and other female writers that I haven't read yet. And funny! This novel made me laugh in my chair. Audibly. I can't remember the last novel - Bridget Jones' Diary? Stephanie Meyer's Eclipse? - to make me laugh out loud.

Recently orphaned Flora Poste makes a plan to sponge off relatives instead of work for her keep. She is intrigued by the gloomy prospects
Meals at the farm were eaten in silence. If anyone spoke at all during the indigestible twenty minutes which served them for dinner or supper, it was to pose some awkward question, which, when answered, led to a blazing row; as, for example : 'Why has not (whichever member of the family was absent from table) -- come in to her food?' or 'Why has not - the barranfield been gone over a second time with the pruning snoot?' On the whole, Flora liked it better when they were silent, though it did ra
Paul Bryant
Although I don't think this the comic masterpiece everyone else does, I was very struck by this passage on p93 - written in 1932, and seemingly predicting the 1960s. In London our heroine goes to a meeting of the Cinema Society :

"The audience had run to beards and magenta shirts and original ways of arranging its neckwear... it had sat through a film of Japanese life called 'Yes' made by a Norwegian film company in 1915 with Japanese actors, which lasted an hour and three-quarters and contained
This is the sort of book that I need to add to my collection and read again and again. Not only is it funny, but it's full of rich language, symbolism, and multiple meanings. It's the sort of book that always reveals something new with each reading.
Written in 1933, this book satirizes the popular British pulp novels of the time that always had some poor little waif of a girl orphaned and sent to the country to live with her terrifying relatives. Instead, with Cold Comfort Farm, our 20 year old heroine Flora loses her parents, and, faced with the prospect of living on 100 pounds a year, decides instead of live off of the most appalling group of relatives she can find, and then fix all their issues and basically "tidy up."

Almost all the char
What a lovely book.
If only I could talk the way Gibbons write, I would be so eternally happy.
This novel doesn't take itself seriously and pokes fun of many classics.
Cold Comfort Farm is going on the list of the fictional places I want to visit the most.

The End.
Nicki Markus
I came to this book wanting to like it and wanting to find it funny...but I was disappointed.

I found the storyline a let down and never really cared about any of the characters who all seemed one dimensional.

I read to the end to find out the answer to the mystery only to discover the author never bothers to tell us, which left me annoyed.

I have given it two stars as I didn't loathe it - but I didn't feel it deserved more as I just never felt any real interest or excitement in it.

This is not a bo
Delightful! Going to get the movie and watch again. I kept wondering if I enjoyed it more because I had seen the movie . . . which played in front of my eyes while reading. Now that I've read the book, I see what a great job they did on the book-to-movie adaptation.

Highly recommend the book and the movie.
MJ Nicholls
I tittered. I chortled. I snorted. Job done.
I began this book thinking: "Wow, very witty, very interesting, very much in the 4 star range..." To: "Umm...less interesting than I thought, but engagingly quirky and the English humor isn't bad...maybe 3 stars" And finally: "O.K. this is just stupid. The main character reminds me of Mary Poppins meets the setting of "Napoleon Dynamite" where he works on that creepy farm and the weathered farmhand offers him raw egg-juice...this is a slightly funny 2 stars and I hope I can get through the last ...more
Mar 22, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Angie
Shelves: historical, humor
Well educated, sensible, and apt to take people in hand, Miss Flora Poste is nevertheless a teenaged orphan without much in the way of finances (at least by her standards). So she resolves to live with relatives, both as a cost-savings and to provide her with material for the novel she intends to write when she is 50. She chooses her second cousin Judith's farm on the basis of the town (named Howling, Sussex), the farm (named Cold Comfort) and Judith's vague mention of owing Flora based on a wro ...more
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
The adventures of Flora Poste, who embarks on a career as a parasite and moves in with the Starkadders of Howling

Genia Lukin
Recently, I've read Crome Yellow, Aldous Huxley's supposedly satirical portrait of English intelligentsia. Let it never be said, that I disliked the book for its author, because I love Huxley, and admire his work... But Crome Yellow bored me quite to tears.

Then, there was this book.

Cold Comfort Farm is all the things Huxley was trying to do with Crome Yellow, and more. It is, for one, hilariously funny; in 250 (more or less) brief, concise pages, Gibbons manages to lampoon everything and everyon
Philip Jackson
Stella Gibbons' first novel is also her most widely known. She was never to repeat the instant success which was afforded to Cold Comfort Farm, despite writing over 20 further novels, including a Cold Comfort sequel.
It is a wonderfully funny novel, ostensibly written as a parody of the works of such authors as Mary Webb, Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence. However, familiarity with the works of those authors is not required to enjoy Cold Comfort Farm, a book so full of wit and sunny optimism that it
Lee Broderick
Re-read 9/7/12: Stella Gibbons may have never written anything worthwhile after her debut novel, but what a wonder that one hit is. Justifiably often cited as one of the funniest novels of the twentieth century it's precisely the book that anyone who gets annoyed and disgusted by Thomas Hardy's self-pitying protagonists would wish to write. I count myself in that category.

The protagonist in this book, Flora Poste, finds herself leaving London society, at the age of 20, to live with some distant
I heard about COLD COMFORT FARM for the first time while I was on study abroad in London my sophomore year of college. Some of the girls in my group were chatting about the film adaptation of it one night and I listened in as they laughed and laughed and quoted perfectly hilarious lines that had me itching to watch it myself, particularly given the wonderful cast, which includes Kate Beckinsale, Ian McKellen, Rufus Sewell, and Stephen Fry. One of the girls had actually read the book itself and t ...more
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Stella Dorothea Gibbons was an English novelist, journalist, poet and short-story writer.

Her first novel, Cold Comfort Farm, won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize for 1933. A satire and parody of the pessimistic ruralism of Thomas Hardy, his followers and especially Precious Bain by Mary Webb -the "loam and lovechild" genre, as some called it, Cold Comfort Farm introduces a self-confident young woman,
More about Stella Gibbons...

Other Books in the Series

Cold Comfort Farm (3 books)
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Nightingale Wood Westwood Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm Conference At Cold Comfort Farm Starlight

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“One of the disadvantages of almost universal education was the fact that all kinds of persons acquired a familiarity with one's favorite writers. It gave one a curious feeling; it was like seeing a drunken stranger wrapped in one's dressing gown.” 64 likes
“I saw something nasty in the woodshed.” 48 likes
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