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Farthing (2006)

av Jo Walton

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Serier: Small Change (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
1,4351079,668 (3.89)1 / 285
One summer weekend in 1949--but not our 1949--the well-connected "Farthing set," a group of upper-crust English families, enjoy a country retreat. Lucy is a minor daughter in one of those families; her parents were both leading figures in the group that overthrew Churchill and negotiated peace with Herr Hitler eight years before. Despite her parents' evident disapproval, Lucy is married--happily--to a London Jew. It was therefore quite a surprise to Lucy when she and her husband David found themselves invited to the retreat. It's even more startling when, on the retreat's first night, a major politician of the Farthing set is found gruesomely murdered, with abundant signs that the killing was ritualistic. It quickly becomes clear to Lucy that she and David were brought to the retreat in order to pin the murder on him. Major political machinations are at stake, including an initiative in Parliament, supported by the Farthing set, to limit the right to vote to university graduates. But whoever's behind the murder, and the frame-up, didn't reckon on the principal investigator from Scotland Yard being a man with very private reasons for sympathizing with outcasts and looking beyond the obvious. As the trap slowly shuts on Lucy and David, they begin to see a way out--a way fraught with peril in a darkening world."… (mer)
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Thanks to amazon I can tell you that this book, and the others in the series, have been sitting on my shelves, unread, since Oct 2013. Why it took me so long to get to it I can't say, because I've really enjoyed everything else that I've read by Walton. Sometimes physically owning a book means I don't feel the need to read it straight away, sure it'll always be there whenever I decide to pick it up, whereas a library book or one borrowed from somebody else, well, I have to give that back so I have to read those instantly.
So maybe there was a bit of that to it, but I recently read The Philosopher Kings, and then Farthing got a mention over on LadyBusiness' 60 Essential Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads so I picked it up.
And amn't I glad I did.
It is an alternate history, set in an England that made peace with Hitler and it is just so light and readable and yet dark and troubling at the same time. There are two main narrators, Lucy is the daughter of an aristocratic English family. But she married David Kahn, a Jew, and her family and friends have almost disowned for it. The other narrator is Peter Carmichael, a police officer from a minor landed family. He is investigating the murder of a prominent politician. Lucy's husband is suspected of being involved.
That's the plot, but really the book is about how evil creeps in to society. The banality of it, as the phrase goes. The way it spreads and corrupts, and how soon it becomes every day and ordinary.
I think it may be my favourite book by Walton so far. I almost started the second book in the series straight away, but am holding off for a few days to give one time to breath. ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
I must go order more books by Jo Walton right now. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Apparently a traditional manor house murder mystery, against a backdrop of 1940s England in which Hitler conquered the Continent and headed East and in which the British nobility is still strong -- but really a reflection on power. Our narrators are a daughter of the rich aristocracy, recently married to a Jew and thereby caught in-between spaces, and the justice-driven police investigator who drew the case.

This book held me enthralled. I loved both narrative voices, who were extremely different from each other and felt fully real from the first few pages -- both imperfect, and both likeable despite their imperfections. The book extracted real emotion from me because it wasn't at all clear what kind of ending we were headed for (I'd picked the book up with minimal context), and I found the thematic reflections on fascism, power, and class to be insightful.

My only quibble is that Farthing is maybe a bit too queer for believability. That quibble has really no bearing on the shininess of the suspense, writing quality, plot, or themes, so this genre-defying mystery-as-a-vehicle-for-spec-fic-style commentary is one of my favorite books this year. ( )
  pammab | Oct 30, 2020 |
READ THIS BOOK.

No, really, that's all I have to say. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
I stumbled on the series with Ha'penny which I found very enjoyable, exceptionally well written. Walton is a gifted writer. Decided to go back to there series' opener. I'm disappointed, the ending much darker, that perhaps was Walton's intent. Perhaps that trajectory should give one hope. ( )
  danhammang | Jun 30, 2020 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (2 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Jo Waltonprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Lachmann, NoraÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
s.BENešOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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Every farthing of the cost,

All the dreaded cards foretell,

Shall be paid, but from this night,

Not a whisper, not a thought,

Not a kiss nor look be lost.

—W.H. Auden, "Lullaby (Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love)" (1937)
All the brass instruments and big drums in the world cannot turn "God Save the King" into a good tune, but on the very rare occasions when it is sung in full it does spring to life in the two lines:

Confound their politics,

Frustrate their knavish tricks!
And, in fact, I had always imagined that this second verse is habitually left out because of a vague suspicion on the part of the Tories that these lines refer to themselves.

—George Orwell, "As I Please" (December 31, 1943)
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This novel is for everyone who has ever studied any monstrosity of history, with the serene satisfaction of being horrified while knowing exactly what was going to happen, rather like studying a dragon anatomised upon a table, and then turning around and finding the dragon's present-day relations standing close by, alive and ready to bite.
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It started when David came in from the lawn absolutely furious.
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Wikipedia på engelska (2)

One summer weekend in 1949--but not our 1949--the well-connected "Farthing set," a group of upper-crust English families, enjoy a country retreat. Lucy is a minor daughter in one of those families; her parents were both leading figures in the group that overthrew Churchill and negotiated peace with Herr Hitler eight years before. Despite her parents' evident disapproval, Lucy is married--happily--to a London Jew. It was therefore quite a surprise to Lucy when she and her husband David found themselves invited to the retreat. It's even more startling when, on the retreat's first night, a major politician of the Farthing set is found gruesomely murdered, with abundant signs that the killing was ritualistic. It quickly becomes clear to Lucy that she and David were brought to the retreat in order to pin the murder on him. Major political machinations are at stake, including an initiative in Parliament, supported by the Farthing set, to limit the right to vote to university graduates. But whoever's behind the murder, and the frame-up, didn't reckon on the principal investigator from Scotland Yard being a man with very private reasons for sympathizing with outcasts and looking beyond the obvious. As the trap slowly shuts on Lucy and David, they begin to see a way out--a way fraught with peril in a darkening world."

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