Brat Farrar, Josephine TeyWill’s letter to the book club:

I’m so delighted you’ve just read BRAT FARRAR by Josephine Tey.

This is a novel that didn’t exactly have me guessing, but it was fun to see how the plot would eventually play out. In fact, play seems to be the operative word, because there’s a great deal of acting and pretending in the novel, along with lying and covering up. What’s most clever, I think, is that Josephine Tey has created a true web of lies, so that characters can’t expose one another without exposing themselves.

My mother didn’t love this novel. She found it a bit silly, and told me that, even if she hadn’t read the ending first, which she always did, she found the novel predictable. She also didn’t particularly care for any of the characters. But I felt differently. I liked the setting: the country house, the horses. Most of all, though, I liked Brat, the scrappy foundling. I wanted him to, somehow, win.

For me, Brat, a charming rogue with a good heart, is a far closer cousin to Artful Dodger than to Tom Ripley. I think about him fondly every now and then, and hope he continued to fare well.

I’m curious to hear what you all thought of the book — and to what extent that was influenced by whether you were, or were not, interested in Brat’s happiness.

All best!

Will

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