Snobs Hardcover – Large Print, May 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Listeners will have little trouble believing that reader Morant was born into the rarified world that serves as the setting for this gossipy tale. He narrates with the lightest of touches, truisms about the English upper crust rolling off his tongue with powerful understatement. Fellowes is the author of the Oscar Award–winning screenplay Gosford Park, and his deliciously satiric debut highlights the foibles and snobbery of the contemporary British upper classes. Morant effortlessly embodies the narrator, a jovial unnamed actor content to remain an observer of his own social class, and he does an equally fine job portraying the people under the narrator's purview. With the proper blend of disdain and understanding, Morant gives voice to the social-climbing Edith Lavery, who marries to advance herself, but his interpretation of Edith's mother-in-law, Lady Uckfield, trumps even this achievement. As Fellowes explains, "Googie" always speaks in an intimate, girlish tone, as if she's letting one in on savory gossip, but listeners don't have to take his word for it. Morant tackles this delicious characteristic with gusto while still revealing the three-dimensional character underneath.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
As the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Gosford Park, Fellowes proved himself to be an arch observer of the quirks and customs of the British upper crust. Fast-forwarding half a century, he turns his attention to more contemporary characters still mired in the same class affectations and divisions. Beautiful Edith Lavery, an unabashed middle-class social climber, hits the jackpot when she snags the heir to an earldom. Not only is Charles Broughton titled but his clan has actually managed to maintain and increase the fabulous family fortune. Alas, life on the ancestral estate is not all that it is cracked up to be, and Edith soon grows weary of her dominating mother-in-law and bored with her stolid husband. After an unfortunate yet titillating dalliance, everyone stiffens their lips in proper public-school fashion and carries on admirably. This delightful comedy of manners good-naturedly lampoons a class of people whose artificiality is so inbred it becomes positively genuine. Veddy British, what? Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Snob is about a young woman in London, who marries a lord. In this day and age, with all that has been said about monarchy, the Royals and all the Scandals, it is surprising to care at all. I actually more then cared, I was fascinated. The author sets about to explain, very clearly indeed, the different way of life that the "higher class" has, or see themselves to have. He did a fantastic job at explaining the nuances and the traditions of a world that very few of "us" will ever experience. He pointed out, quite rightly, that we judge it and make fun of it yet, given a chance, we will all want to be invited in (most of us would deny this if asked!).
Edith sets about to marry a lord and once she does so, she is surprised to find out exactly what that life is all about. I don't want to give away too much but we follow her and her friends through a few years. Suffice it to say that she acts very badly and, yet I saw myself rooting for her, hoping she would pull it off, if only to give it back to a few people that had treated her badly (even if they were right, at times, to do so!). Throw in a few actors in the mix and it's off to a jolly good time!
Pick up this book if you want to be entertained!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
SNOBS is immersed in the lives of the upper crust of British society and with those outsiders who desperately aspire to become a part of this rarified, privileged world. The plot centers upon the initially fortitious marriage of a beautiful, middle class young woman to a wealthy Earl from an illustrious British family. The Earl is earnest but dull and his new wife quickly tires of him and their lifestyle. Consequenly she creates a scandal by embarking on an affair with an extraordinarily handsome but callow, supercilious actor. This rather pedestrian, derivative plot is nonetheless made up for by Fellowes scintillating prose. He knows his territory well and provides the reader with an entertaining, clever and oh so sophisticated work.
The author's witty aphorisms concerning the upper set are exceptionally fun and insightful: "The English, of all classes as it happens, are addicted to exclusivity. Leave three Englishmen in a room and they will invent a rule that prevents a fourth joining them." "The upper classes are not, as a whole a complaining lot. As a group they would rather not 'go on about it'. A brisk walk and a stiff drink are their chosen methods of recovery whether struck in the heart or the wallet...it is not lack of feeling that marks them apart, rather it is a lack of expression of feeling." "The English always say you shouldn't have bothered to thank them, when, of all races on earth, they are the most unforgiving when one does not." Despite Fellowes satirical and acerbic commentary concerning the snobbish and frivolous nature of the English upper crust, the overall tone of this book leads one to believe that the author has a personal fondness and high regard for this set.
On a relatively minor negative note, Fellowes continuously alternates the narrative voice from the first person to the third person. I found this to be rather awkward and disconcerting. However, I MUST SAY (as the Brits repeatedly do), all minor criticisms aside, this novel is a joy and a delight.