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Past imperfect
Cover of Past imperfect
Past imperfect
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Damian Baxter is hugely wealthy and dying He lives alone in a big house in Surrey, looked after by a chauffeur, butler, cook and housemaid He has but one concern - his fortune in excess of 500 million and who should inherit it on his death This is the story of a quest Damian Baxter wishes to know if he has a living heir Had he sired a child? A letter from a girlfriend suggests he did But the letter is anonymous Damian contacts someone he knew from their days at university He gives him a list of girls he slept with and sets him a task find his heir!
Damian Baxter is hugely wealthy and dying He lives alone in a big house in Surrey, looked after by a chauffeur, butler, cook and housemaid He has but one concern - his fortune in excess of 500 million and who should inherit it on his death This is the story of a quest Damian Baxter wishes to know if he has a living heir Had he sired a child? A letter from a girlfriend suggests he did But the letter is anonymous Damian contacts someone he knew from their days at university He gives him a list of girls he slept with and sets him a task find his heir!
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 31, 2009
    A middle-aged Londoner is forced to revisit his past in Fellowes's slick and dexterous second novel (after the bestselling Snobs). Former friend Damian Baxter, after 40 years of estrangement, convinces the unnamed narrator to locate the woman Damian believes to have borne his child in 1968. As the narrator looks back on the events of that fateful summer, Fellowes exercises his considerable talent for observing the nuances of custom and class distinction. Especially interesting are the frequent digressions to consider the peculiar juncture of their "safe little, nearly-pre-1939 world" with the Swinging Sixties. In the narrator's circle of friends-who would fit comfortably into a Trollope novel-the ossified conventions of the upper class still hold sway, yet the '60s make an appearance as well, enlivening a debutante party with surprise hash brownies. We quickly discover that middle-class Damian (a "social mountaineer") managed to insinuate himself into this smart set until a terrible scene tears apart the group of friends. Deservedly compared to Tom Wolfe, Fellowes, with his ability to document the aristocracy with a sociologist's eye, fashions intriguing narratives.

  • AudioFile Magazine Julian Fellowes recreates the posh world of 1960s London, in which the upper classes cling to their titles while attempting to stave off the social changes taking place all around them. This is a novel of two worlds: one of debutante balls, the other of "hash" brownies. The unnamed chronicler, voiced by Richard Morant with an appropriate upper-crust tone, must revisit his youth when a former friend contacts him seeking assistance to find his illegitimate child. The man is terminally ill and wants an heir. Morant creates multiple believable female characters, including a drunk and avaricious American and a soft-spoken Moravian princess, but his finest portrayal is that of the desperately sick and regretful Damian. Morant makes the most of the abundant humor but can only do his best with the stilted dialogue, which contains too much story explication. A.B. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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Past imperfect
Past imperfect
Julian Fellowes
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