Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library


leave a comment »


by Jo Walton



I first read Farthing not long after it came out.  I’m pretty sure it was the first thing of Jo Walton’s I read, unless that was The King’s Peace.  That was before I knew how amazing she is, before her name meant anything significant to me, before I voted for Among Others to win the Hugo Award… before I even knew that voting on the Hugo Awards was something fans could do.  I don’t even remember why I picked it up, exactly, but it was probably one of those moments when I was browsing at the library and a cover caught my eye.

When I first read it, I was most interested in its treatment of gay characters – the ways that the society- and government- mandated hiding of homosexuality and bisexuality affected the characters’ decisions, the unfairness of it all and how they dealt with unfair situations, and how the unfairness of it made the world worse.  I was recently out, myself, after a lifetime of fundamentalist Christianity, and these were subjects that were much on my mind when I read Farthing for the first time.

Now it’s almost ten years later.  I had a hankering to reread this after I finished Walton’s latest book, The Just City, which I loved intensely and which made me want to go back to her older books.  I like it even better.  I’ve read some Nancy Mitford and some Peter Dickinson since I read this book last, and this time, I appreciated how well she created her setting, the sparkling and sordid world of the wealthy and powerful post-war British aristocracy.  This novel would work as a period piece and a mystery even if it weren’t set in an alternate universe in which Great Britain signed a truce with Hitler.  In that alternate universe, this would still be a good read.

The way I remember it, I liked Farthing best of the series, and while I read the others, they didn’t stick in my head – I remember almost nothing about them.  I wonder if this really is the best book, or if I’ll enjoy them more on a re-read?  I’ve added Ha’Penny to my to-read list.  I feel hopeful.


Written by Contented Reader

May 1, 2015 at 9:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: