Monday, January 20, 2014

Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

I LOVE DOWNTON ABBEY! So when I discovered that the creator, Julian Fellowes, was an author, I immediately went to the library to check out one of his books. The first one available was entitled Past Imperfect

The novel is an interesting look at the time period just as the society portrayed in Downton Abbey began to collapse, contrasted with today. 

The main character is sent on a mission by an old “frenemy” to discover which old flame of his might or might not have had his baby. If the child, now 40 or so, exists, this eccentric millionaire plans to leave his estate to this heir.

Our narrator accepts the mission because he realizes it will give him a chance to re-encounter old friends and see what’s become of the group that played a large role in his life as a young man. 

As Fellowes jumps back and forth from the past to the present and back again, we encounter two very different worlds. In some ways, we are much the worse, but in others, we realize it was time for some changes. The manners and traditions and time-honored rituals have much to commend them, but the constrictiveness of the old ways certainly hamper those who do not fit in.

I like the book very much. I got somewhat confused by who was who. I should have kept a list of characters and salient facts. I was saddened by the loss that occurred without reflection. Change can be good and is necessary in some instances, but one needs to reflect on the costs incurred as a result of change. To give up that with is not perfect is not necessarily to replace it with the better. It’s possible to lose in the quest for the better and not realize the ramifications of the change until the loss is felt most painfully. 

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