Posts tagged ‘Julian Fellowes’

The honor of calling someone “Sausage” – “Snobs” by Julian Fellowes

“Snobs” by Julian Fellowes, Published in 2004 

I admit to reading this in honor of the return of “Downton Abbey” – almost like I am honoring all things Julian Fellowes, if you will. This is the second novel I have read by Fellowes – the first being “Past Imperfect”.  This book can be a bit slow at times but over all it was an interesting look at high society in England and just snarky enough to make me love it.

Set in the early 2000s, the narrator is an unnamed British actor who, while staying with his friends in the English country, meets Edith Lavery.  The novel then becomes the narrator’s spin on the story of Edith, who sets her sights to climb to the top of the social stratosphere.  And she does by marrying Charles, the Earl of Broughton. But Edith soon finds that living in the English countryside in a large  manor, dabbling in philanthropy and having tea with other nobility can be rather dull.

What can a poor social climber do once she has discovered that her new aristocratic life is dreary?

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take up with a British actor who is also interested in making a name for himself within the elite circles of England, of course.  So Edith meets Simon while he is filming a mini-series, which also stars our narrator, at Broughton Manor. Edith shames Charles’ family by running off with Simon.

Meanwhile the narrator is continually roped into the drama by not only Edith but also Charles and his mother, Lady Uckfield, who all want the family scandal dealt with in different ways.  Of course, Edith quickly realizes that she only had risen in class because of her marriage to Charles and she finds that she has lost a lot of so-called friends because of her affair.  Suddenly, life doesn’t seem as interesting without being able to walk into any private London club.  Certainly having to sit in the back row when attending a fashion show is not what Edith had planned for her life.  All of this leaves Edith with a choice – should she stay with the exciting, sexy actor but remain in the middle class or return to boring, average Charles but enjoin all of the perks that come with money and title.  Life is tough for Edith, as you can imagine.

The story itself is purposefully insipid  but the narrator’s observations of the upper-class of society and all of the characters’ ridiculous actions keep the novel grounded and stunningly hilarious.

On the upper-class passion for nicknames:

“Everyone is ‘Toffee’ or ‘Bobo’ or ‘Snook’. They themselves think the names imply a kind of playfulness…Certainly the nicknames form an effective fence. A newcomer is often in the position of knowing someone too well to continue to call them Lady So-and-So but no nearly well enough to call them ‘Sausage’…”

On how the upper-class always get things for free:

“They were shown into the Bridal Suite which they had not requested but was their anyway – the difference in price being compliments of the management, following the age-old principle ‘To them that hath shall be given’.”

All in all, I couldn’t help through-out being extremely jealous of the life-style of even the lowly actors but honestly the people themselves sound exhausting.  So I guess the lesson is I should be grateful for my simple middle-class life. Because in my life the people that I would call “Sausage” I truly love and even like.  In fact, I like them so much I will not call them “Sausage.” And instead, tonight I will be enjoying “Downton Abbey.” Happy Sunday.

 

January 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm 3 comments


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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.

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