Monday, 23 January 2012

Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes second novel Past Imperfect was chosen (by me) as a light read over Christmas for my reading group. But it's not as light a read as its choice for Richard and Judy might appear. The plot concerns a search for the mother of an unknown child, and there are frequent visits to the past to accomplish this. The narrator is commanded by a former friend, Damien, now dying, to find the child he never knew he had, in order to pass on his extremely large fortune. The narrator, whose name is never revelaed, was part of the debutante season of 1968, and invited Damien to meet his fellow debs  and debs delights. The story shifts back and forth in time, setting the scene of the past and also bringing us up-to-date with how the sameprople are living their lives now. There are many comparisons with past and present, and also how we change as time goes by.  Comments such as " We generally end up with lives that are the products of our choices" and " Anyone with any brains gets nicer as they get older" reveal that the narrator feels this is true of himself as well as others of his acquaintance. His search for Damien;s child returns him to several former female friends, some of whom he knew well, others less so. Some of the reading group felt the above comments and others on life in the 1960'swere a bit too moralising, and that the author went on a bit too much in this vein. Most thought the book as quite a good read. With its constant refernce back to the past of the late1960s, a time when i was growing up myself and finding my own way in the world, I found some aspects of this book made me reflective of my own past.

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