Old Filth

Old Filth

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Long ago, Old Filth was a Raj orphan - one of the many young children sent 'Home' from the East to be fostered and educated in England. Jane Gardam's novel tells his story, from his birth in what was then Malaya to the extremities of his old age. In so doing, she not only encapsulates a whole period from the glory days of British Empire, through the Second World War, to the present and beyond, but also illuminates the complexities of the character known variously as Eddie, the Judge, Fevvers, Filth, Master of the Inner Temple, Teddy and Sir Edward Feathers.
Publisher: London : Abacus, 2013, c2004.
ISBN: 9780349138992
Characteristics: 259 p.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 27, 2017

wonderful book....Old Filth is one of her best...if not the best!

Sep 21, 2017

I would concede that this book is well written but unfortunately the constant moving back and forth in time really interrupted the flow of the story for me.

Apr 19, 2017

Beautifully written. Very "Downton Abbey". There was sex and drugs and violence but it was conveyed in a very civilized manner. The upper class, for the most part, treat the dregs of the lower class with politeness and respect or they get their comeuppance - as it should be. People have to earn their station in life or they suffer for their mistakes. The next in the series is on it's way to me. Thank you Jane Gardam.

multcolib_susannel Jun 13, 2016

How did Malay-born Raj orphan Edward Feathers become a respected judge nicknamed Old Filth? This is his story.

WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

Sir Edward Feathers, nicknamed Old Filth (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong), is a retired judge, an "orphan of the Raj" whose mother died in childbirth in Malaysia. A delightful man, we are told he is loved, admired and much discussed after his retirement by those who believed him to have had an unimaginative and uneventful life. It is not so. The novel is an exploration of his life, a detective story with a deep-buried murder - committed by a child - at its climax.

Oct 30, 2014

'Old Filth' is Sir Edward Feathers nickname taken from the term 'failed in London, gone to Hong Kong,' a term used in the British Empire for those who never quite adapted to life back Home. He's a Raj orphan. This first book in the trilogy chronicles his life, which parallels much of the 20th century's major events. It's very funny and will have you wanting to read all three of Gardam's interconnected stories! Amazing.

Oct 08, 2014

Kipling would have loved this book about the British Raj as seen through an interesting character in his twilight years. Much better then the follow-up book.

Jul 29, 2014

patron review:

Fabulous story--1st in trilogy about a judge in Hong Kong who retires in England, his birth place.

gracindaisy Jun 22, 2014

FILTH=failed in London; tried Hong Kong. A retired judge, born in Malaya, retires in rural England from Southeast Asia, where he built his career. Wonderful new author for me; love how the story is unfolded with memories spilling from each event or thought.

rross Sep 04, 2013

It is masterful. Story within story of unforgettable characters - most of whose motivation must be British Empire and not quite clear to a current day American. Wait till you get to the second novel "The Man in the Wooden Hat" which continues to tell the same story The ending will blow you away.

View All Comments


Add a Summary

Jan 04, 2011

Filth is nickname of British retiree, former attorney, then judge, in Hong Kong. Acronym is Failed in London, try Hong Kong. His wife has recently died. Another judge has retired and moved next door, they always despised each other. Apparently, the wife had an affair with him. Sequel The Man in the Wooden Hat is wife's perspective.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top