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The Man in the Wooden Hat (Old Filth #2)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  3,487 Ratings  ·  594 Reviews
The New York Times called Sir Edward Feathers one of the most memorable characters in modern literature. A lyrical novel that recalls his fully lived life, Old Filth has been acclaimed as Jane Gardam's masterpiece, a book where life and art merge. And now that beautiful, haunting novel has been joined by a companion that also bursts with humor and wisdom: The Man in the Wo ...more
Paperback, 233 pages
Published October 27th 2009 by Europa Editions (first published 2009)
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Cathy
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Maine i would say not in a selfless way. he was there to protect her and give her a certain life, and she loved him for that...and loved him enough to keep…morei would say not in a selfless way. he was there to protect her and give her a certain life, and she loved him for that...and loved him enough to keep her promise to him. But did she ever know enough of him to really love him? and that, of course, was not her doing.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Diane Barnes
Nov 07, 2013 Diane Barnes rated it it was amazing
Jane Gardam is just an incredible author. I have read several of her books and loved them all. This book is the second in the Old Filth trilogy, and I finished it reluctantly. I can't be too sad because there is another one waiting in the wings. This is a love/hate triangle between Edward Feathers (Old Filth), his wife Betty, and Teddy Veneering, a rival attorney in Feather's world of Hong Kong and London. Gardam is a master of understatement, and can tell more in describing a glance or a raised ...more
Alicia
May 01, 2012 Alicia rated it really liked it
Just so you know where my prejudices lie: I read Old Filth then Man in the Wooden Hat and fell in love with Jane Gardam. So I am astonished to read negative reviews of Wooden Hat. In it, Gardam goes where so very few writers do.

Perhaps because I am no longer young, this book spoke clearly to me of the compromises, the subtle adjustments, the losses and the satisfactions of the flexible definition of 'love' over a lifetime. Because the characters are English and of a class and time where outburs
...more
Margaret
Jul 19, 2013 Margaret rated it it was amazing
4.5/5

The Man in the Wooden Hat is the companion piece to Jane Gardam’s wonderful novel Old Filth, about Sir Edward Feathers, a Raj orphan who becomes first a highly regarded barrister in Hong Kong and then an important judge at Home (England). This second book is from the perspective of Sir Edward’s wife, Betty (Elisabeth Macintosh). These two books fit together most perfectly, and they remind me somewhat of Alan Ayckbourn’s famous trilogy, The Norman Conquests, which I was lucky enough to see
...more
Margitte
From the blurb:
Old Filth was Eddie's story. The Man in the Wooden Hat is the history of his marriage told from the perspective of his wife, Betty, a character as vivid and enchanting as Filth himself.

They met in Hong Kong after the war. Betty had spent the duration in a Japanese internment camp. Filth was already a successful barrister, handsome, fast becoming rich, in need of a wife but unaccustomed to romance. A perfect English couple of the late 1940s.

... a portrait of a marriage, with all
...more
Chrissie
Nov 19, 2009 Chrissie rated it really liked it
I don’t know how to properly explain about this book. I KNOW I really, really liked it. Why? Well because it spoke to my heart about marital relationships. The problems everyone has, even if you love each other! You don’t have to be a person like either Betty or Eddie to still recognize yourself or your spouse through their relationship. It is about balancing two people’s personalities because there are always differences. The book shows you a long marriage and how it changes with time….and in s ...more
Jack London
Jun 15, 2011 Jack London rated it it was amazing
If I am limited to recommend only one book, I urge you to read these two books. Jane Gardem writes prose that begins gently, invitingly, leading you to the next page and the next, never permitting you to notice that you have been drawn in to her story because all the while you read a part of your mind is asking whether ‘that could have been me….’
Old Filth has almost nothing to do with filth but, rather, is the life revisited of a British attorney who Failed in London, Tried Hong Kong. Sir Edwar
...more
Courtney
Nov 08, 2009 Courtney rated it really liked it
This book is a companion to "Old Filth," just as "Man in the Wooden Hat" protagonist Betty Feathers is a companion to the central character of the other novel, Edward Feathers.

It starts with Betty's decision to marry Edward, a charming man she hardly knows. She is 28, a virgin, an orphan, with few marital options and no money (well, until she turns 30 and her inheritance is unleashed). Edward, she can tell, is a good, caring man who will provide for her, even if he is deeply private and unlikel
...more
Angela
Jul 19, 2010 Angela rated it liked it
Recommended to Angela by: nytimes review
In The Man in the Wooden Hat, Gardam returns to the story of Eddie and Betty Feathers's lives and marriage as English expats in Hong Kong introduced in Old Filth. I expected the story to shine a whole new light on the events of the first novel, creating a more complex whole. Perhaps expectations were a bit high, and there is less new information here than one might hope. This is meant to be Betty's story, but for that it talks very little about her life before meeting Feathers. Her relationship ...more
Sue
Dec 17, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it
Wonderful companion piece to Old Filth, providing Betty's view of their shared history and some new information on the later days of Edward Feathers' existence after Betty's death. To say much is probably to say too much but the English pre and post-war character as presented here appears to have many issues with belonging, trust, love, family. Betty and Eddie were both children of loss who found each other for better or worse and had their own style of love-filled marriage.

This is a must read f
...more
James
Jul 20, 2012 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, love
The second in the "old filth" trilogy. In the man with the wooden hat the story of the wealthy barrister and his charming wife is told from the perspective of the wife. It's funny, poignant and very well written with the words easing by smoothly as one plows through page after page. Somehow though it lacked the bravura punch of the first book. I will of course be reading the last of the trilogy though and there is plenty to savor in this book as well.
Mark
May 20, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the follow-up to Old Filth. It may not have hit the highs of the first book but this one had plenty to admire. It is mostly told from Betty's POV. She is Edward's wife. Looking forward to Last Friends, the final book in the trilogy.
Huw Rhys
Jun 26, 2011 Huw Rhys rated it did not like it
I really liked the "other half" of this story, Jane Gardam's earlier novel, "Old Filth". But I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what this book was all about.

Jane Gardam writes with intelligence and authority, therefore some people (including her publishers) must have felt that there was some deep literary merit to this diatribe. It's a novel by Jane Gardam, she's won all sorts of awards, therefore by definition this will be a worthy tome...

Well, this wasn't. I could give a dozen different theo
...more
Robert Teasdale
Mar 02, 2012 Robert Teasdale rated it really liked it
Never heard of this author, but it was recommended by Bas Bleu and I bit...God, what a leap of literate faith...and it turned out so well....Ms. Gardam wrote a book - literature, mind you, no murder mysteries, no bodies floating in the river, no graphic sex, literature - about a young man in post WW II who took the bar in England, but never really "made it"...just wasn't cut out for the big trials of London, so became "Old Filth" an acronmyn for Failed In London, Try HongKong......and his story ...more
Alta
Aug 01, 2011 Alta added it
Jane Gardam’s Man in the Wooden Hat (2009) is a sequel to Old Filfth (2006), though both novels can be read independently. The Man…is written from the perspective of Betty, married to Sir Edward Feathers, while Old Filth (Filth being an acronym for “Failed in London, Try Hong Kong”) is told from Filth’s point of view.

The Man in the Wooden Hat is one of those novels that are hard to summarize because what “happens” resides mostly in the interaction between characters—a character-driven story, as
...more
Ann
Jul 02, 2010 Ann rated it really liked it
This is a companion to Gardam's superb "Old Filth." It's a worthy companion, because it fills in all kinds of holes that you didn't even know were there, painting a very different and fascinating picture of the same characters. It's beautifully written,, but I preferred "Old Filth" for its deep and narrow focus on Edward; this book is about his wife Betty but also about all the other characters in "Filth" and thus seemed to lose a little of "Filth"'s extraordinary intensity. On the other hand, i ...more
Rachel
Nov 13, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gobbled this up after reading "Old Filth" and discovering that Gardam had written a companion novel from the point of view of Old Filth's wife, Betty. An ingenious, intriguing idea -- two novels about the same marriage. But it fell short of my expectations (and that may have been part of the problem, since "Old Filth" set them so high). The writing is still great, the story is still engaging, and the characters are still compelling, but somehow I felt that Gardam did not "get" Betty -- capture h ...more
Alan Chen
Jan 13, 2015 Alan Chen rated it really liked it
This is the second in a three-book Old Filth series. It is less a trilogy and more a triptych, an alternate view of a given scene. The first novel is from the point of view of Old Filth: immensely wealthy, immensely proper English barrister living most of his life as an expat in Hong Kong. This second novel is focused on his wife Betty. Betty is also an expat, born in Shanghai, lived in a camp during the War, orphaned young, educated in UK, and married to Old Filth at 28. While Old Filth's inter ...more
Lese lust
Apr 04, 2016 Lese lust rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Hier geht es vordergründig um Betty - wie ihre Ehe mit Filth zustandekam, wie die Liebesgeschichte mit Veneering sich entwickelte - auch wenn diese dann im Endeffekt auf sehr wenige Episoden konzentriert bleibt.

Was mir gefällt: man bekommt ein Gefühl für eine gewisse Schicht zu einer gewissen Zeit, ihr Leben, die kleine Blase, in der sie sich letztlich doch immer wieder bewegt hatten und schlussendlich ja zufällig sogar im Ruhestand noch tun.
Aber mir fehlt in vieler Hinsicht eine Vertiefung....
...more
Lisa
Jun 15, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
The Man in the Wooden Hat is Jane Gardam's follow-up to her novel Old Filth. Both novels examine the marriage of a up-and-coming barrister and his seemingly dutiful wife, Sir Edward and Elisabeth Feathers. Both have been stunted by their youth as products of the dying modern colonialism. OF focuses on Sir Edward's life while leaving the reader with enough hints to be sure that there is a great deal more to Betty. Thankfully, this volume lets the reader into Betty's world. For the two, marriage i ...more
David
Jan 24, 2010 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2010
This is the complement to Jane Gardam's earlier account of the marriage of Edward and Betty Feathers. "Old Filth" was Edward's story; this book tells things from Betty's perspective. Think of Evan Connell's paired novels "Mr Bridge" and "Mrs Bridge".

"Old Filth" was already a masterpiece. "The Man in the Wooden Hat" is equally good. It can stand on its own merits, but the extra details it reveals about the relationships among the main characters will make you want to re-read "Old Filth".
Donna
Jan 18, 2015 Donna rated it it was amazing
As much fun as Old Filth but more from Betty's point of view. This is so deft and clever without being obvious about it. Gardham makes it look easy. It isn't. And just like 'Old Filth', the extra character is that smooth set of guilty pearls. Where the pearls are at any given time prove to be the best navigator.
Corey
Jun 04, 2016 Corey rated it it was amazing
What a marvelous writer, reminiscent of Woolf at times. This is the 2nd in the Filth Trilogy.
Ruthiella
May 28, 2016 Ruthiella rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
The Man in the Wooden Hat is a companion novel to Gardam’s novel Old Filth and it is told from the perspective of the wife of the protagonist of Old Filth, Elizabeth (Betty) Feathers, nee Macintosh. I expected this book to go more into Betty’s past, but other than brief mentions of her Shanghai childhood, her time in an Japanese internment camp and her Bletchley park days , it really doesn’t; its main focus would appear to be her marriage with Sir Edward. So at first, I was fairly disappointed b ...more
Gary  the Bookworm
Sep 20, 2012 Gary the Bookworm rated it really liked it
This is the sequel to.Old Filth; the yin to his yang. It seems shorter and more direct, giving us Betty Feather's take on her long, mostly happy marriage to Edward. We learn much more about him, by seeing him through her eyes, and fall in love with both of them. Each of their childhoods was marred by tragedy and neither had strong family ties. While their marriage seemed like one of convenience, we see it evolve into an enduring bond of mutual love and respect. It reminded me something out of Gr ...more
Alison
Mar 23, 2013 Alison rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
More plot driven than it's predecessor Old Filth, this book seemed slightly brisker, and slightly more interested in intriguing the reader. The prose was still langourous and beautiful, but I didn't get the same richness as from the previous. This may be, of course, because I have limited tolerance for stories of women who fall in love with men they don't seem to like, for no reason apparent to me.

I am eagerly awaiting the third in the trilogy. The characterisations, inexplicable love affairs as
...more
Inta
Feb 11, 2015 Inta rated it really liked it
I love Jane Gardam...related to Betty and her restrained sense of duty and commitment. Her ability to see through with a marriage, not based on passion and accept the genuine fondness that grows between them. Loved her passion for life that is inevitably reigned in.Find Eddy Feathers a fascinating character who struggles with fears of abandonment most of his life. The Raj period in India that so much mold and shape his character always intrigues me. Wonderful characters. Did not want the book to ...more
Claudia Jolig
Mar 23, 2016 Claudia Jolig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Der zweite Teil der "Old Filth" Trilogie konnte mich genauso begeistern wie "Ein untadeliger Mann", beide wurden von Isabel Bogdan wunderbar übersetzt. Dieser Roman zeichnet wieder diese unnachahmlich englische Melancholie aus, die ich so sehr schätze. Freue mich sehr auf den letzten Teil!
Fiona
Sep 15, 2015 Fiona rated it really liked it
A quick read. Old Filth's story told from his wife Betty's perspective. Not as dark as many of Jane Gardam's novels - and I think I prefer those - but very entertaining anyway. I even had a couple of laugh-out-loud moments which is always a good sign.
Laura
Apr 18, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Made for 4 Extra. Dramatisation of award-winning author Jane Gardam's novel. Marriage and secrets begin in 1950s Hong Kong. Stars Michael York.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Old Filth (3 books)
  • Old Filth (Old Filth, #1)
  • Last Friends (Old Filth, #3)

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