Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes

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From the creator of the Emmy Award-winning Downton Abbey... “Damian Baxter was a friend of mine at Cambridge. We met around the time when I was doing the Season at the end of the Sixties. I introduced him to some of the girls. They took him up, and we ran about together in London for a while….”

Nearly forty years later, the narrator hates Damian Baxter and would gladly forget their disastrous last encounter. But if it is pleasant to hear from an old friend, it is more interesting to hear from an old enemy, and so he accepts an invitation from the rich and dying Damian, who begs him to track down the past girlfriend whose anonymous letter claimed he had fathered a child during that ruinous debutante season.

The search takes the narrator back to the extraordinary world of swinging London, where aristocratic parents schemed to find suitable matches for their daughters while someone was putting hash in the brownies at a ball at Madame Tussaud’s. It was a time when everything seemed to be changing—and it was, but not always quite as expected.


About Julian Fellowes

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Julian Fellowes is the Emmy Award-winning writer and creator of Downton Abbey and the winner of the 2001 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Gosford Park. He also wrote the screenplays for Vanity Fair and The Young Victoria. He is the bestselling author of Snobs and Past Imperfect. His other works include The Curious Adventure of the Abandoned Toys and the book for the Disney stage musical of Mary Poppins. As an actor, his roles include Lord Kilwillie in the BBC Television series Monarch of the Glen and the 2nd Duke of Richmond in Aristocrats, as well as appearances in the films Shadowlands, Damage, and Tomorrow Never Dies. He lives in London and Dorset, England.
Published August 29, 2009 by St. Martin's Press. 416 pages
Genres: Other, History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Past Imperfect

Kirkus Reviews

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Dying tycoon entreats sworn enemy to find his heir in a sophisticated meditation on the British upper crust by Fellowes (Snobs, 2005).

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect

The Guardian

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Past Imperfect Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop No one writes as entertainingly about the English class system (which despite all you've read is still apparently ali...

May 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect

The Guardian

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The nameless narrator of Julian Fellowes's new novel is a modestly successful 50-something novelist, shacked up with the somewhat brisk-sounding Bridget in London's Earls Court and feeding off his memories of a gilded youth spent among the aristo party set of the late 1960s.

Nov 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect

The Guardian

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Reading Past Imperfect is like being stuck at a party with a bore and being forced to do that unpardonably rude thing - look over his shoulder in the hope of spotting someone, anyone - more interesting on the horizon.

Nov 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect

The Wall Street Journal

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The aristos flock to a party. The brownies are spiked with hashish.

Aug 30 2009 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect

JULIAN FELLOWES'S LATEST novel, Past Imperfect, is an elegant social satire which offers an entertaining commentary on our times.

Oct 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect

Portland Book Review

In fulfilling this request, the narrator finds that the past wasn’t necessarily how we remember it—not for him, Damian, or the women they knew.

Jul 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect


While most other Latin American governments had clearly indicated their adamant condemnation of the coup plans underway in Honduras and their solid support for Honduras’ constitutionally elected president, Manual Zelaya, the U.S. spokesman stated the following, “We are concerned about the breakd...

Jun 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect


These days, it seems, not a month goes by without an intelligence case involving alleged Chinese spies stealing American industrial secrets, or reports that China tried to pay an American to join the CIA, or Chinese hackers (perhaps from the government) breaking into the Gmail accounts of U.S. of...

Jun 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Past Imperfect

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