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For chat about the latest Thursday Next book - TN5 - WARNING - SPOILERS POSSIBLE 
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Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: MuseSusan (
Date: July 27, 2007 06:57PM

In rereading FAS, I got to thinking about Thursday's escape from The Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco as it is being erased, and the book she arrives in, Cold Comfort Farm. (The escape is wonderfully done, in my opinion--since nothing textual can survive in the Nothing, of course it can't be described textually, so it has to be illustrated instead.) Anyway, I was curious about the book, which I'd never heard of, and looked it up. Wikipedia describes it as a comic novel that parodied "the romanticised, sometimes doom-laden accounts of rural life popular at the time", so its genre could best be described as literary parody.

This is intriguing to me because Jasper's books are, of course, extremely hard to characterize as being in one genre or another, and I could make a case for putting them in mystery, action, comedy, sci-fi/fantasy, etc., along with literary parody. But I wouldn't say that parody is the main genre, since after all most of the time they're not making fun of the books but treating them with irreverent respect. Also, the sci-fi/action/mystery/satire elements are as much a part of what makes the books what they are as the literary references. But since books of the same genre are found in close proximity, this implies that the Thursday Next books are primarily in the genre of parody. What do you think?

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: robcraine (
Date: July 27, 2007 10:30PM

Never read the thing... but looking at the wikipedia site, they have it down as ain the 'comic novel' genre.

Incidently, the ISBN is correct. I Amazoned it.


That statement is either so deep it would take a lifetime to fully comprehend every particle of its meaning, or it is a load of absolute tosh. Which is it, I wonder?
Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: July 27, 2007 11:40PM

Love that attention to detail.

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: LeonardQuirm (
Date: July 28, 2007 05:13PM

"Love that attention to detail."

He'd only get complaints and need to put it on the upgrade page if it wasn't right...but yeah, it's a good touch.

With question of whether TN is "literary parody"...well, the first thing to say is that I think the best parody always treats the subject with a form of irreverant respect - you should always parody something you like, not something you dislike. Whether what the Thursday books do is properly parody is probably dependant on your definition of the word.

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: PrinzHilde (
Date: July 29, 2007 11:05PM

The book was allready mentioned in TEA (UK paperback, p. 303). Helwyn the book, after quoting some obscure lines about doom and bad weather, gets advised by Jones the manuscript that "there are some new copies of Cold Comfort Farm that need to be dispatched to Llan-dod".

I have no idea if the lines are from Gibbons, Hardy or only in that general style. And how this is connected to the Great Samuel Pepys Fiasco elludes me.

Edited because you should never copy + paste.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2007 11:07PM by PrinzHilde.

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: MuseSusan (
Date: July 30, 2007 12:56AM

I think the only connection is that the books are of a similar genre (or perhaps even that Cold Comfort Farm is the very closest in terms of genre) and that is the reason that Thursday makes it there after crossing the Nothing.

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: September 17, 2007 02:38PM

Primarily in the genre of parody, or the parody of genres?

There is so much satire on genre, and literary appropriation in this book, and here we are discussing exactly what he is satirising...! Thats coool.

Personally, I have never found a reason to categorise books. But to speculate that the author has chosen Cold Comfort Farm to covertly inform us what type of genre this book is - thats one of those mind opening and thought provoking ideas that reminds me why I love books, and also people's crrazy ideas.

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: October 25, 2007 10:56AM

CCF is a great book, btw, definitely recommended reading. It is a satire of bucolic romps. It's an interesting point the OP makes.

Re: Cold Comfort Farm ***SPOILER***
Posted by: bunyip (
Date: March 30, 2008 05:52AM

I think we need a new category of 'Irreverent Respect'

And I would add 'Bored of the Rings' to such a category.

But what does it matter? If a book is so wide in its compass that it includes all the genres mentioned it should be classed as 'uncategorisable'.

Think of the people you have met. Some of them are so narrow in their outlook and sense of wonder that they can be categorised immediately. Others with interests in many things and capabilities and activities that are diverse are much more interesting to be with and interact with.

Which do you prefer?

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