A collection of short stories by the talented writer Stella Gibbons, made famous for her popular novel, ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ which is a pitch perfect parody of rural melodrama in middle-class suburbia during the late 1930s. Filled with wonderful period detail this is brimming with Gibbon’s humour of another era.
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CHRISTMAS AT COLD COMFORT FARM
BY Stella Gibbons
'Christmas At Cold Comfort Farm' is collection of short stories by author and journalist, Stella Gibbons, made famous for her popular novel of the same name (‘Cold Comfort Farm’) which is a pitch perfect parody of rural melodrama in middle-class suburbia during the late 1930s. Filled with wonderful period detail this is brimming with Gibbon’s humour of another era.
Perfect for busy holiday season, this is a charming compendium of short stories, a form of popular fiction, that was originally published in 1940 headlining with two endearing festive stories, one being set at Cold Comfort Farm and featuring the much loved Starkadders. The rest of the book is made up of other short stories that were featured in magazines around this time including 'The Lady' and 'Good Housekeeping'. As well as presenting a peak into another era without TV (and the internet!) it gives book clubs and readers the chance to indulge and appreciate the short story.
The Den enjoyed Gibbon’s wry humour and energetic attack on domestic life in Middle England, the snobbery of class through Gibbon’s characterisations as well as general people watching. As a collection the reader has the opportunity to appreciate the growing unrest of the housewife in which women were trying to walk out on their husbands (then having a change of heart!), the lack of opportunities for spinsters who were pitied and the general desire for emancipation not only for women but the individual who wanted to escape their own position. At the same time the stories reflect an appreciation of traditional values and the family unit holding loves ones closer such as in ‘The Walled Garden’ whilst hanging out for romance for the singleton as in ‘The Little Christmas Tree’.
We also have the opportunity to imagine life in which the pace was slower and entertainment limited. Lead by the author, closer inspection is given on behaviours, gossiping circles in parlours and street corners before the internet gave us whatsApp groups. There is social commentary on the mundane and insightful observations on the entrapment of the everyday. With this there is plenty to consider and discuss in book club and whilst the world has moved on to fewer words on twitter feeds and pictures on Instagram and SnapChat there is still a place for the short story, in which human nature comes under the microscope and historical context becomes an interesting aside.
Great book to dip into 'on the move' or between last minute sprees. One definitely to go under the tree.