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Faith Fox

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  353 Ratings  ·  66 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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(showing 1-30)
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Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Faith Fox's mother dies in childbirth. Her father doesn't know what to do with her so he takes her to his brother's Christian commune in Yorkshire - Cold Comfort Farm without the woodshed. On one level, this is a typical English farce that made me laugh out loud many times. On another, it's a darker novel about people reaching crossroads in their lives and having to make decisions about who they really are and what they really want. In this respect, it's often quite moving.

Jane Gardam is one of
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We all react to grief and shock in different ways. That is what this book deals with: often amusingly, but with a more serious current running below the light touch of the story. Faith is a baby whose mother dies giving birth to her, and the book covers the first three months of her life as she is cared for in a rather ramshackle way by a variety of people. She is only a bit player in the story, and yet is central to what is happening.

A lovely, touching story, beautifully told.
Allie Riley
I enjoyed this because, well, it's by Jane Gardam and her writing is sublime. It is witty and clever - her hallmarks. However, I couldn't help feeling that it was not her best. Not quite on a par with, say, "The Queen of the Tambourine", say, or the brilliant "Old Filth". It isn't because there are few likeable characters, although that's true. Gardam makes it clear that we are not meant, particularly to like them or approve of their awful snobbery and thinly (sometimes not so thinly) veiled, te ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it liked it
As usual I leave the plot summaries to other readers... I did not like this book as much as other Gardam titles. But at times I found myself laughing out loud. Gardam doesn't suffer fools lightly. I love Gardam's sense of the absurd and her send-up of the English class system. She exposes her characters in all their bad-mannered glory, their selfish acts bared for all to see. I didn't care for most of the characters, and I don't think the author wanted the reader to admire them. The ascetic cler ...more
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is one quirky book! All the characters are really weird--wouldn't call a one of them normal. But it makes for a fun read. As the story unfolds, interactions between certain characters come to light that makes for confusion between them. Jane Gardam is a new author to me. She has a way of writing that makes the book move along quickly. It's almost like a "stream of consciousness" but there are sentences, though long ones. I felt that I was reading even faster than I usually do. I'm sure I mi ...more
Alexandra Daw
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
splendid. splendid. splendid. I just loved it. All the way through and particularly the end. June Barrie did a wonderful job with the voices. The only one I didn't like was Jocasta but then she's not a very likeable character, poor Jocasta, until the end. Wonderful stuff. Probably only for the Anglophiles though. Silly delightful nonsense about eccentric nutters. Just my cup of tea.
Nov 23, 2013 rated it liked it
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 somewhat 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
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Kathleen Gray
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's terrific that Jane Gardam's novels are being reissued in the US because it gives a whole new audience the opportunity to experience her language, plots, and unique perspective on well, just about everything. This book is no exception. It takes a village to raise a child, even if that village is filled with people who are not especially likable. Gardam specializes in skewering those who need it- some of her characters are caricatures, and as long as you accept that, you'll get a good laugh. ...more
Bronwyn Rykiert
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: family, audiobook
I do not understand why this story is called Faith Fox, as she played a rather insignificant part in this story. I did not really take to any of the characters in this book. The character I enjoyed the most was Philip but other than that, I just pushed my way through this book.
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This was not top-notch Gardam, but her books are always worth reading. She has a lovely elliptical style that doesn't say too much, yet does say enough to draw a clear picture.

As always, her characters are precisely drawn and her characterizations are very amusing. She has such a fine eye for the telling detail that encapsulates a character. She also has a tart eye for social climbers, who have people "one really can't know." Delicious.

I've noticed, also, that Gardam has a special interest in ch
Anne Slater
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was started on Jane Gardam's work by my Very Literary Daughter, Liz PhD. I enjoyed Old Filth, it's prequel whose title I can't remember; less so,The Doll House. Gardam is an acquired taste, like black coffee, or single malt Scotch (which I don't like yet).

So here is Faith Fox.... It took me quite a while to get into it, even longer to finish it,and yet when I got toward the end, I didn't want to stop reading it.

Yes it is centered on a child, Faith [WHY is she called Faith?] born to a greatly a
Nov 11, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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
Helen Walton
Aug 25, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this book strangely compelling in its evocation of a vanishing idea of England and a vanishing type. The characters - occasionally archetypal as they are - are nonetheless oddly delightful - the daft aristocrats, the saintly forgetful Jack, the Liverpuddlian Tibetans. Faith and Holly are the negative space at the heart of the book around which all the rest of the characters swirl. Voiceless, the dead mother and the silent baby, can be ignored or reinterpreted by the others. Only the down ...more
Dec 26, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 28, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another Jane Gardam jewel. Faith Fox is born into the world as her mother dies in childbirth. Her father is over worked and unable to make any kind of connection with Faith. We meet all sorts of relatives, extended family and friends of Faiths' now deceased mother, Holly Fox. Who will take care of this child, who will raise her? The Tibetans at the church, the elderly great grandparents or the neighbors? As always, Jane Gardam gives us rich characters that I start to miss as soon as I finish rea ...more
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved it, great characters all with so many human flaws. Jane Gardam has a wonderful way of making characters likeable so that you find yourself intrigued with situations of those she writes about. The settings are so well drawn that you are transported to the place. ( I am usually unable to cope with reading tales involving the wrong season and I read passages about snow while sitting on an island in Greece listening to chirping crickets ) Great writer. So grateful for the recommendation that l ...more
Jan 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
An enjoyable read with some brilliant set pieces and elements reminiscent of her other novels, especially the Yorkshire setting of God on the Rocks, school setting of Bilgewater and the retired colonials of Old Filth.
There are an interesting set of contrasting characters, some of whom work better than others, but Jocasta and Jack did not work for me. An ensemble piece that does not quite come off and makes you want more on individual characters - so many half told stories, beautifully sketched i
Evanston Public  Library
Cheery, well-liked Holly Fox has died giving birth to Faith, the drop in the pond from which the concentric circles radiate. An omniscient narrator swoops from character to character letting us in on the joke, the befuddlement, the pain, the prayers. Upper crust and stiff-upper-lip Londoners mix uneasily with Northerners, in-laws of different class, mysterious Tibetans, unworldly clergy and "reformed" hooligans in this amazing and gentle, though pretention-piercing, story. The opening chapters a ...more
Feb 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Marcus Ward
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up-books
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.
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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
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