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Farthing [Format Kindle]

Jo Walton

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Descriptions du produit

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. World Fantasy Award–winner Walton (Tooth and Claw) crosses genres without missing a beat with this stunningly powerful alternative history set in 1949, eight years after Britain agreed to peace with Nazi Germany, leaving Hitler in control of the European continent. A typical gathering at the country estate of Farthing of the power elite who brokered the deal is thrown into turmoil when the main negotiator, Sir James Thirkie, is murdered, with a yellow star pinned to his chest with a dagger. The author deftly alternates perspective between Lucy Kahn, the host's daughter, who has disgraced herself in her family's eyes by marrying a Jew, and Scotland Yard Inspector Peter Carmichael, who quickly suspects that the killer was not a Bolshevik terrorist. But while the whodunit plot is compelling, it's the convincing portrait of a country's incremental slide into fascism that makes this novel a standout. Mainstream readers should be enthralled as well. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–An influential family's weekend party is the stage for murder in post-World War II England. On the first night, a major politician is found dead with a yellow Star of David pinned to his chest with a dagger. Daughter of the house Lucy and her Jewish husband had been surprised to be included. Clearly, their invitation was an obvious setup by someone in the Fascist Farthing Set who is trying to pin the murder on her husband. An investigator from Scotland Yard discerns that in addition to anti-Semitism, the homosexuality of some of the key figures plays a major role in the crime, and the investigator has his own secret that plays out as a significant factor in the outcome of the case. The accurately portrayed civilian setting will make the novel useful for world history classes, and it's a gripping read for teens who like a good English murder mystery. It's comparable to Agatha Christie's novels with substantial social issues and a heavier dose of history thrown in.–Ellen Bell, Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 755 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 320 pages
  • Editeur : Corsair (24 décembre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00GHK71NG
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  60 commentaires
30 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Scary murder mystery set in a Nazi-triumphant alternate history 23 août 2006
Par Richard R. Horton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Farthing is a book that I found compulsively readable, but that I dreaded reading. Not because I didn't want to know what happened, but because I knew what happened would be wrenching. It delivered, too -- the novel is powerful, thought-provoking, and deeply sad.

It is set in a country house in England in about 1950. But not our England: in this one a splinter group of the Tories, the Farthing Set, pushed for a separate peace with Hitler in 1941, ending the war. Europe is under Nazi control, and is a hellhole for Jews. The Germans continue to fight with the Soviets. Th US, under President Lindbergh, has remained neutral. And the Farthing Set continue to jockey for power in an increasingly unpleasant, though still green, England.

Lucy Kahn is the daughter of the power behind the scenes of the Farthing Set, Lady Eversley. Lucy and her Jewish husband, David, are at her parents' home for a party prior to a crucial vote, despite Lucy's break with her anti-Semitic parents over her marriage to David. Then a leading Farthing MP is murdered, in a way that seems crudely to suggest Jewish involvement.

Alternating chapters tell of the investigation of the crime by Inspector Carmichael, an intelligent man with a dangerous secret of his own: he is homosexual. (Indeed, so are many of the characters in this book, including several of the Farthing Set.) Carmichael slowly figures out what has really happened, while the powers that be push for David Kahn's arrest, despite the ultimate absurd nature of any claims that he committed the murder. The waters are muddied by a curious attack on Lucy and her father.

As I said, I could see all along that this was leading to a scary resolution, and so it does. Scary, bitter, almost hopeless, and quite moving. And thought-provoking about the dangers of fascism.

It's not a perfect book. Some of the plot details seem a bit too pat, too much of a setup. While the two main characters (Lucy Kahn and Inspector Carmichael) are well-depicted, and very sympathetic, the other characters are hard to grasp. David Kahn comes off as little more than a saint, while we get almost no understanding the true villains, particularly Lucy's evil Mummy, Lady Eversley. All the characters seem to have absurdly perfect "gaydar", as well. But these are but quibbles, and only slightly muffle the impact of a powerful book.
24 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 brilliant blend of alternate history and country house mystery 22 août 2006
Par Margaret Johnston - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Jo Walton is very good at taking something familiar and putting an unfamiliar, intriguing spin on it. Previously, she's done this with King Arthur (_The King's Peace_ and _The King's Name_), Irish mythology (_The Prize in the Game_), and Victorian society (_Tooth and Claw_). In _Farthing_, she takes the traditional English country mystery, adds in alternate history, and comes up with something new and brilliant.

Lucy Kahn has come to her parents' country house, Farthing, for the weekend, bringing her new husband, David. Their marriage caused a scandal, because David is Jewish, while Lucy is of the British upper class, and Lucy is hoping that the stay with her parents will bring about a reconciliation. Instead, it brings violent death, when one of the other houseguests, who was instrumental in bringing about the 1941 peace with Hitler and Germany, is murdered, under circumstances that seem to implicate David. Soon, Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard enters the scene, and he and Lucy follow separate but parallel investigative tracks which lead to shocking conclusions.

The point-of-view alternates between Lucy's first person and Carmichael's third person, both splendidly done. I particularly liked Lucy, who's not quite as scatterbrained as she might initially appear, and who has a marvelous style of speaking and system of allusions (I loved her terms for sexual orientation). Both she and Carmichael are outsiders to some extent, Lucy because she's chosen to marry a Jew, Carmichael because he's a policeman (and for other reasons), and thus both are excellent viewpoints characters, looking from the outside in at different angles.

Walton slowly slips in bits and pieces of the alternate history, of which the salient fact, as mentioned above, is England's peace with Hitler, engineered by a group of conservative politicians called "the Farthing Set". Eventually, a clearer picture of this alternate history emerges, of what's already happened, and what might be going to happen. The resonances with today's political scene are chilling, and the book's ending is very unsettling. I'm glad I know there's to be a sequel.

_Farthing_ might just be the best book I've read this year.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent mystery, scarily realistic alternate history 23 septembre 2006
Par Elisabeth Carey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This is an English country house murder mystery, extremely well done but basically typical of its kind--except that it's set in 1949 in a Britain that made peace with Nazi Germany in 1941, and is sliding closer and closer to fascism.

The Farthing set, the political clique within the Conservative party that ousted Churchill and negotiated the peace, are currently in partial eclipse, and are holding a retreat at the Eversley family estate. The Eversleys' daughter Lucy, who married a Jewish man over family objections, is surprised and somewhat annoyed that her mother has invited them, or rather, insisted that they attend, but she and her husband are there.

On the first night, Sir James Thirkie, a major leader of the group and the man who actually negotiated the peace, is murdered, with evidence planted to make it appear to uncritical observers that the murder was committed by a Jew.

The story is told in alternating chapters, Lucy's account of her experiences, and the progress of Inspector Carmichael's investigation. It's really beautifully done, the English country house murder and the story of a country sinking into fascism wound around each in a way that works perfectly--the murder investigation winding to a satisfying, nicely complex but fair-to-the-reader resolution, and the political story and its human impact told honestly, convincingly, going where you know it has to go, while never getting as tough to read as it easily could get.

Maybe not the thing to read when you're feeling stressed and need something soothing or distracting, but really excellent. Highly recommended.
22 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 I admired it, but I didn't enjoy it. 3 février 2008
Par frumiousb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
I feel really a mug for saying that Farthing irritated me. So very many people love it, that I have the urge to explain that I had read it in a difficult week, that perhaps if I give it another chance then I would like it better...

But, not really. I just plain old don't like it. It made me itchy. I nearly put it away. No amount of re-reading is likely to change my mind.

To be clear, I understand why other people like it. Walton is clearly a very talented writer. Her prose is clean and sprightly and has just the right amount of archness in the tone. It does have a nice classic mystery plot, which normally I quite enjoy. It is a smart project and makes nice use of genre mixing.

So why couldn't I enjoy it?

I think that the first and biggest problem for me was the alt.history setting.

For those of you who don't know, Farthing is a kind of golden age detective novel set in an England which made a separate peace in the Nazis. In the world of the book, the European continent was absorbed into the Reich and the US became an isolationist anti-Jewish state led by President Lindbergh. Although Jews in England are afforded some rights, they clearly lack the full rights of citizens.

I do enjoy alt.history from time to time. I am particularly fond of Tim Powers as a writer, for instance. But the difference is that his books have a more fractured view of things, with the alt being more alt than alt. (I realize that this doesn't really make much sense.) There was something about Walton's post WWII world which just made my face itch. It was too smug, too pat, too neat. I know just a little too much about that time period. I really wanted to argue with her about Lindbergh's actual beliefs, for instance. I wasn't able to swallow big sections of what she projected in this alternative past.

If you can't get past her world building, you can't really enjoy the detective story. This is particularly true when the detective story serves (as it often does) as a means to explore the world of the book. If you don't buy Walton's vision, the experience is basically doomed.

The second major reason that I had problems with the book is, admittedly, a personal quirk. We all have categories of novel characters and moments that we hate. I had just forced myself to grit my teeth and stop arguing about the history of Farthing when I ran smack into one of my HATE points.

I *hate* when a female character magically knows from the moment of coming together that she Has Conceived That Very Night. Lucy banging on in this line made me want to smack her repeatedly with a wet codfish.

(The constant harping about sexual orientation and procreation also broke the frame of Walton's Golden Age conceit, but that's a potentially less serious offense.)

These reflections are not meant to talk any potential readers out of reading the book. I will concede to admiring it. I even plan to give my copy to a coworker who I suspect will find it just the thing. (She has been introducing me to the David Wishart mystery series, which is at least distantly related to this kind of work.)

I would recommend, as a side note, reading Anne Lindbergh's journals about World War II if you are interested in some of the aspects behind the history that Walton explores. I found War Within and Without: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1939-1944 a really interesting and moving work, more so because many of the politics she expresses are so very problematic.
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Spellbinding suspense must-read 14 juin 2006
Par Elisabeth Riba - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Have you ever read a book and thought, 'By all rights, this will be an award-winning best-seller'? That was my reaction all the way through Farthing.

Jo Walton's previous book, Tooth and claw won the World Fantasy Award and started a small resurgence of Trollope reading. But the dragons may have turned some readers off, limiting the book's appeal.

Farthing has a chance at becoming a crossover hit among mainstream audiences, in part because it avoids the more obvious fantasy elements and tells (what appears in the beginning to be) a more conventional story.

The book is set in 1949 England, and posits an alternate universe where Rudolf Hess's mission was successful and Britain made peace with the Nazis in 1941. The story itself begins with a cozy murder mystery in a country estate.

The narrative alternates chapter-by-chapter between the first person account of Lucy Kahn née Eversley, a young heiress who's not quite as twitterpated as she appears on first glance, and a third person police procedural, focused on the stolid Inspector Carmichael of Scotland Yard.

I don't want to say too much about the plot, because its unfolding is one of the delights of the book. Suffice it to say, both inspector and daughter take separate but parallel paths to uncovering the mystery, each learning only part of the story.

Lucy's voice is utterly captivating:

"I don't suppose you've ever considered what it would mean to know that someone close to you had done something unspeakable -- and by that I don't mean shooting a fox or putting lemonade into a single malt, the way Daddy would."

Lucy's voice just wins me over every time she speaks. She's got the most charming personal shorthand for certain terms that I really wish would catch on more widely.

You can read the first two chapters online on Jo Walton's website. Go ahead; I'll wait. [Though you may not be able to afterwards.]

I give this book my highest recommendation, and urge everyone to read it.
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