Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Last Friends” as Want to Read:
Last Friends
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Last Friends

(Old Filth #3)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,733 ratings  ·  446 reviews
The third installment in the Old Filth trilogy, Last Friends will surprise and delight Gardam fans and appeal to new readers as it concludes a portrait of a marriage equal to any in the English language.

Of Edward Feathers, a.k.a. Old Filth, the New York Times wrote, “he belongs in the Dickensian pantheon of memorable characters.” Filth, which stands for Failed in London Tr
...more
Paperback, 241 pages
Published February 7th 2014 by Abacus (first published April 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Last Friends, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Last Friends

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Bettie☯
Description: The third installment in the Old Filth trilogy, Last Friends will surprise and delight Gardam fans and appeal to new readers as it concludes a portrait of a marriage equal to any in the English language.

Of Edward Feathers, a.k.a. Old Filth, the New York Times wrote, “he belongs in the Dickensian pantheon of memorable characters.” Filth, which stands for Failed in London Try Hong Kong, is a successful barrister who has spent most of his career practicing law in Southeast Asia. He met
...more
Margitte
This is the third installment in the 'the Old Filth' trilogy and with a powerful grande finale, a love triangle is finally concluded in which Edward and Betty Feathers, and Terry Veneering's lives are brought to full circle.

Last Friends is not only the story of Terry's background, but also the other childhood friends' conclusion of their roles in the saga. Some of them survived sinking ships as Raj Orphans, bombarded by the Japanese, others met in the school of 'Sir', also orphaned children from
...more
Ellen
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last of her magnificent trilogy, and the least, but still extraordinary and compulsively readable. I couldn't do much else while I was reading it and I didn't want it to end, not least because I can't bear saying goodbye to this company of characters. This is the funniest of the books because two of the protagonists, Dulcie and Fiscal-Smith, are her most Dickensian creations--hapless, ancient characters rather than the out-size heroic figures at the center of the first novels. It's also lack ...more
Diane Barnes
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With this last book in the Old Filth trilogy, we get the childhood and secrets of Terry Veneering, the third leg of the love triangle between Edward Feathers, his wife, Betty, and himself. Not as standout as the first two books, in my opinion, but still a satisfying conclusion to all the "friends" we met along the way. Jane Gardam is a treasure.
Misha
OMG! I SQUEED when I saw that this book was coming out. I adore Jane Gardam and the Old Filth novels have been so stellar. I CANNOT WAIT!

***************

Okay, I finally finished and was disappointed, I'm afraid. OLD FILTH and THE MAN IN THE WOODEN HAT are both so stellar, complex, nuanced and surprising, that this felt like a novella rehash of the least interesting characters in the Raj Orphan set.

I adore Gardam's writing style and understand why she felt the need to return to this setting and ch
...more
Margaret
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Last Friends is the third novel in Jane Gardam’s trilogy that began with Old Filth and continued with The Man in the Wooden Hat. Having read and loved both those novels, I felt pretty sure what to expect in this last book. The first focused on Sir Edward Feathers, barrister in Hong Kong and London, promoted to judge, Old Filth himself. The second focused on his wife, Betty. Surely the third would focus on Terry Veneering, Edward’s legal nemesis (also a barrister and a judge) and Betty’s (not so) ...more
Jeanette
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why is there no sixth star? OMG, when did you ever hear of a trilogy that just gets, if possible, BETTER at the end. And nothing foreseen by this reader.

What a masterful window into worlds of the Raj Orphans of that late British Empire. And taken nearly to the present day!

There are no words for the understories of the seconds and friends of both Eddie Feathers (Old Filth) and Teddy Veneering. Or of Elizabeth or Isobel or Elsie. No, the superlatives don't even do it. Because these "after tales" a
...more
Jane Ciabattari
Apr 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just read all three novels in Jane Gardam's "Old Filth" trilogy (FILTH is acronym for FAILED IN LONDON TRY HONG KONG) to review the last, "Last Friends," and was immersed in this end of Empire world. Here's my review in Boston Globe:

http://bostonglobe.com/arts/books/201...
Jennifer
May 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Jane Gardam could write 10 more books that orbit the world of Old Filth and I would keep buying and reading them. Of the three (Old Filth, The Man with the Wooden Hat and now Last Friends) I think this one is the weakest but it's still a world I enjoy reading about. This book reveals the backstory of Filth's long time rival (turned chess partner) Veneering. I can't imagine reading this book on it's own - would you really understand the characters and relationships if you entered during this thir ...more
Donna
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Damn. Trilogy finished. In the previous books, the character Veneering switched from between space to object space, background to foreground like a pitcher in a Braque drawing. This book tells his story and it is fascinating. Everything made sense all along but now it all makes even more sense. We get everybody's end game here too. Unsentimental, clear-eyed age all around. Watch it in your elders. Read about it. Then live it. There is no predicting. This was an excellent three books.
Carol Ryan
Aug 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Gardam’s brilliant novel, Old Filth, left so many plot twists and engaging characters hanging that there simply had to be more. Fans were happy when The Man in the Wooden Hat appeared, filling in more about the characters. The latest and presumably last installment, Last Friends, completes the trilogy with all the main characters finally dead.
Gardam has fashioned an interesting cast and allowed them to wonder throughout the British Empire over most of the last century up to the present. Las
...more
Tuck
the 3rd and final novel about old filth, and his many human connections(ers) to lovers, rivals, dotty english villagers, colleagues, and the modern world encroaching on the old guard of bloody England their far flung empire. it is a bit hard to understand what gardam was trying to accomplish with this last novel, as it seems sometimes not full, not connected, even to the point of senility and maybe that was her point. when you get old, all your friends are either getting buried or getting forgot ...more
Mij Woodward
I feel a little blasphemous. I cannot believe I am going to not rave about Last Friends, as I normally would-- about anything written by Jane Gardam.

Her writing is so superb, and it is here, in Last Friends. Moments, scenes she sets up, vignettes. Superb and wonderful.

I guess I DO rave about parts of this book.

Yet, somehow, Last Friends did not grab me the way Old Filth did, or The Man With the Wooden Hat.

I did enjoy discovering Terry Veneering's story, his childhood, his motives. I got to know
...more
Elizabeth
Don't know what I would have made of this book if I hadn't read the first two in the trilogy, both of which I deeply admired both as a reader and as a novelist. Gardam is brilliant at developing characters, at weaving their histories together and at making us care about them. All of these have featured before: Veneering, Old Filth himself, Dulcie, Betty. And even though they are mostly dead at the beginning of the book, we dive back into their history and fill out the picture. That said, the ref ...more
Lese lust
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Ich habe jetzt die gesamte Reihe um Old Filth in einem Rutsch durchgelesen und finde diesen dritten Teil als qualitativ deutlich abfallend im Verhältnis zu den beiden anderen.

Hier spielt, wenn man es überhaupt so sagen kann, Veneering die Hauptrolle, sein Werdegang wird jetzt genauer durchleuchtet, aber natürlich auch die Geschichte derer fortgesponnen, die als Letzte noch übrig sind, also Fiscal-Smith und Dulcie.

Ich empfand sehr viele Begegnungen und Zufälle ausgesprochen bemüht, zudem zerfase
...more
Ayelet Waldman
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lord how I love Jane Gardam. This book reminds me of the work of Lore Segal. They are both fabulous and you should read them NOW.
Tom
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With the startling outcome of Brexit, there has been much ruminating by pundits on the failure of British artists to capture the prevailing sentiment in their nation. I would argue that they haven’t been reading Jane Gardam.

In a fine comedic trilogy that began with “Old Filth,” followed by “The Man in the Wooden Hat,” and now ends with “Last Friends,” Gardam has brought to life three elusive but compulsively fascinating characters—Sir Edward Feathers (“Old Filth”), his wife Betty, and his arch-
...more
Christina Rochester
Last Friends is the final instalment in the Old Filth trilogy, but it can very easily be read as a standalone. I’ll admit to have not reading the first two books, although I think after this one I’ll definitely give them a look!

From what I can gather the series looks at a love triangle between Filth, his wife and Terry Veneering, with each instalment looking at the life of one of the trio. This one focuses on Veneering.

I actually found Terry’s story really interesting to read, especially when
...more
Ruthiella
But it’s true, she thought, nobody really knows a thing about another’s past. Why should we? Different worlds we all inhabit from the womb.

This is the third (and last?) book of the series which started with Old Filth. I think it would have been better to have read all three books closer together rather than years apart since they cover much of the same ground but from a different perspective. As usual, people are never what they seem. Only the reader has the opportunity to get a glimpse of th
...more
Steven Langdon
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This engaging novel is the third in Jane Gardam's "Old Filth" trilogy about British expatriates in Asia. The first book presented Filth himself in all his distorted complexity; the second explored the ambiguous life of his longtime wife Betty; and this volume focuses on the third side of the series' triangle of tangled emotional ties -- Terry Veneering, the loved child of a poor but exotic Northern couple who is fated to be Filth's rival in the law and in love.

Veneering has a constrained upbrin
...more
Featherbooks
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, sprightly, splendid writing and delightful characters in this third book in the Old Filthtrilogy. We learn of Terence Veneering's beginnings and more about some of the now-aged peripheral characters as they begin the last leg of their journey.

Good quote from the rejected Fiscal-Smith: "Sometimes, he thought, one should take a long, hard look at old friends. Like old clothes in a cupboard, there comes the moment to examine for moth. Perhaps throw them out and forget them."
Rachel
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A satisfying end to Gardam's brilliant trilogy. We find out much more about the elusive Terry Veneering and the always-present Fiscal-Smith (one of my favorites from Old Filth and The Man with the Wooden Hat). The novel feels lighter than the other two but every detail still feels right and she captures the way our friends are the memory keepers of our lives.
Fiona
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The weakest of the trilogy but still very enjoyable. Jane Gardam has the same wicked wit of Muriel Spark and I just love it. This ties up a lot of loose ends about Veneering's life with Dulcie, Pastry Willy's widow, the unexpected main character. It's a fitting ending to the trilogy.
Okidoki
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-köp
Det var helt underbart att få läsa den tredje delen om Old Filths historia och denna gång på svenska. Gardam var säkert 84 år när hon skrev den här delen, vilket förklarar att ett tema är att bli gammal, följa vännerna till graven, och vara lite förvirrad och stå vid sidan om utvecklingen. Hon skildrar faktiskt detta med humor. Uppskattas av en 70-plussare. Vi får också nya aspekter på herrarna Terry och Edward och deras Betty. Terrys spektakulära uppväxt och ungdom skildras ingående och jag häp ...more
Faith
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've finished the trilogy and I enjoyed each one. Having the same characters in all the books, but focusing on a different person as lead character in each of the stories resulted in a unique and very intriguing perspective. The connections are frequently poignant and fraught with opportunities missed and words unsaid. Each of the three main characters impacts the other's lives far more than any of them realizes and therein lies a permeating sadness that carries through all three novels. The ton ...more
Jacoline Maes
3,5 stars. Not as gripping as the first and it doesn’t add as much interesting information as the second book in this series. Still a very enjoyable read and I still really liked reading about all of the characters who I feel like I’ve gotten to know very well through all three books. Though with every book I also got the sense that even though you get to know them better and better, it also becomes very clear there is so much more about their lives that could be explored but isn’t revealed to t ...more
Janet
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While not as impressive as the first two books in the series, the book fills in many gaps in the story told in Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat. Yet, it has created more question in my mind about Gardam's characters. Certainly all three books can be read independently, but they are best read together and all at once. ( I can almost picture a BBC series based on these books, with Peter Davison as Veneering.)
Carla Leemans
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Toen ik het boek in de bib zag liggen, heb ik het onmiddellijk meegenomen en in een ruk uitgelezen. Zo meeslepend geschreven.
Elsje
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, read-2018
Minder sterk dan de eerste twee delen.. te netjes alle losse eindjes afhechten. Maar zeker weer genieten van de schrijfstijl en de personages!
DGT
Nov 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Last Friends” is more, though perhaps not a great deal more, than a tidying-up novel. It back-tracks as well as looks forward from the events in Jane Gardam’s loose trilogy, which began with “Old Filth”, was followed by “The Man in the Wooden Hat” and concluded with “Last Friends”. Certainly, I’d recommend reading the books in that order because the central story of the rivalry of the buttoned-up Sir Eddie Feathers and Sir Terry Veneering is given some history in “Last Friends” and we learn mor ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Truth of the Matter
  • The Levant Trilogy
  • Dark Times in the City
  • Persecution (The Friendly Fire of Memories, #1)
  • Chalcot Crescent
  • Cooking with Fernet Branca (Gerald Samper, #1)
  • Rough Treatment (Charlie Resnick, #2)
  • Fraud
  • Between Two Seas
  • You Are Not Like Other Mothers
  • Lazarus is Dead
  • How It All Began
  • The Raj Quartet
  • The Fountain Overflows
  • Second Reading: Notable and Neglected Books Revisited
  • Three Weeks in December
  • Little Boy Lost
  • Wichita
265 followers
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

Other books in the series

Old Filth (3 books)
  • Old Filth (Old Filth, #1)
  • The Man in the Wooden Hat (Old Filth, #2)