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Highland Fling

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  758 ratings  ·  110 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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Average rating 3.42  · 
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Fiona MacDonald
Another Nancy Mitford that I adored. She's wonderful. I think alternating between her and Barbara Pym should be used to treat depression because both will have you laughing numerous times.
'Highland Fling' follows four people, Alfred, Jane, Sally and Walter (who have just recently got married) who are invited to spend time in a grand castle in Scotland by Sally's kindly relatives. Once there, there are arguments, disappearing picnic baskets, fires, drunken singsongs and general madness. Oh, and
...more
Kim
Dec 10, 2013 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
...more
Nigeyb
Oct 28, 2013 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 gr
...more
Elizabeth
Apr 25, 2015 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
...more
Pamela
Jul 15, 2014 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.
Alvin
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This witty, lighthearted frolic of a novel deftly (if gently) lampoons the British aristocracy of its day – both the stodgy, persnickety old guard and the vapid Bright Young Things. The aesthete protagonist, Albert, is particularly hilarious. It's rather like Wodehouse with a bit more bite and substance. Really, quite a treat.
Claire
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud funny!
Gemma (Non Fic Books)
Very highly stylised and obviously an early work but you can definitely see Nancy Mitford has a way with words and is not afraid to make sharp observations. A romp of a short book but one which definitely makes me eager to read her longer, later works.
Selah Pike
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
A hilarious romp of fluffy, ridiculous fun!
David
May 22, 2016 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 they
...more
Donna LaValley
Aug 04, 2015 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
...more
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
Kthxbai!
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 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.
Evi G
May 24, 2014 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but just could not get there. Even after the 200 pages I could not tell half of the characters from one another and even the main characters did not seem like complete human beings. The book seemed to aim at being something in the world of Wodehouse, but it did not get there.

I have read other Mitford books and this one did not deliver on the same level than the others.
Ellie
Oct 11, 2014 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.
Laura
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh so disappointing! The plot never went anywhere and it had very little of the cleverness I expected from Nancy Mitford after reading the others.
Sandra Danby
First published in 1931, ‘Highland Fling’ is the first novel by Nancy Mitford and the first I have read, determined to read them in order. What a breath of fresh air it was after reading two detailed historical novels, this light frothy concoction made me chuckle.
An amusing observer of manners, Mitford excels at that peculiar type of incomplete conversation between two people gossiping about mutual acquaintances in which each completes the other’s sentences. This is a novel of its time, uppercla
...more
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
...more
Elena Sala
HIGHLAND FLING was Nancy Mitford's first published novel, written when she was in her 20's. It is a short, light period piece which captures high society glamour of the decades previous to WWII.
The central characters are four "Bright Young Things" and the story is told from their point of view. Basically, the story is about the clash of this quartet with the older generation of Establishment figures of Lords, Ladies and Generals.
Mitford's captures the boredom of country house parties dedicated t
...more
Lindsay
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Well this was an unexpected gem! I promised myself I'd finally read Christmas Pudding this December and then I found out some of the characters were in this first so I obviously I had to track it down! (I think it's only in print within The Complete Novels in the UK.)

It's exactly what you would expect from a Nancy Mitford shooting party - the foibles of the upper classes are mercilessly skewered, there's romance and hijinks, and then suddenly about two thirds of the way in, almost as an afterth
...more
Charles Inglin
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Very light, humorous, somewhat satirical reading that would be of interest to fans of "Downton Abbey." What I found interesting, as a fan of Evelyn Waugh, is the similarity in style to the earlier Waugh novels, like "Vile Bodies" and "Handful of Dust," as well as the depictions of the "Bright Young Things" and stock British upper class characters. Dated, but interesting for Anglophiles.
Peter Pinkney
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
The upper classes then (and maybe now) were simply ghaaaastly, and Nancy Mitford manages to show this in a mildly amusing way. She should know being a member of one of the more infamous upper class families.
This story was a bit second class Wodehouse, but it won’t put me off reading more of her oeuvre.
Jill
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
If this is supposed to be humourous then I failed to find any in it. I found it to be just a lot of people with money claiming poverty, and acting rather silly. A romance and the burning down of an old Scottish castle. It has been compared to Wodehouse but I feel there is no comparison. Wodehouse is far superior .
Lobster Lettuce
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Highland Fling had some nice moments, and a few witty bits, but overall it wasn't great. It isn't a book that I would recommend. The characters were not great, nor really likeable. I think Nancy Mitford is trying to poke fun at the generation of "Bright Young Things" of the late 1920s, but fails to hit the right notes.
Mina Simms
I adored Love in a Cold Climate, and this did not disappoint. This millennial was howling with laughter at a book written 90 years ago by an aristocrat...how impressive for her novels to have weathered so well.
Snorki
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Never actually read a Mitford book before and was pleasantly surprised by this. It is set in a world that is completely unknown to me but the acid wit and sharp observations make it entertaining and stinging at the same time. Will definitely be reading more!
Riley (runtobooks)
maybe closer to 2.5 stars?? i really liked the characters in this book but there was virtually no plot? or at least it never felt like the story built to anything before it abruptly ended. this was her first novel though, so would definitely be willing to give another of her books a go!
Toni Rieder
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It was fine.
Karen
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Just didn't get into it, I gave it 70 pages.
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Nancy Mitford, 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 was brought up at Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire. She was t ...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.” 5 likes
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