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Extended Audio Sample Past Imperfect Audiobook, by Julian Fellowes Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,170 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Julian Fellowes Narrator: Richard Morant Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9781482979008
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Damian Baxter is hugely wealthy and dying. He lives alone in a big house in Surrey, England, looked after by a chauffeur, butler, cook, and housemaid. He has but one concern—his fortune in excess of five hundred million and who should inherit it on his death. Past Imperfect is the story of a quest. Damian Baxter wishes to know if he has a living heir. By the time he married in his late thirties he was sterile (the result of adult mumps), but what about before that unfortunate illness? Had he sired a child? He sets himself (and others) to the task of finding his heir.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “It’s like a visit to an English country estate: breezy, beautiful, and charming.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “It’s not only the rich who are different, it’s the British upper classes too. This complicated truth, all the more palatable if delivered amusingly, has been successfully tackled by such insiders as P. G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh, and Nancy Mitford, and is now resurrected by Julian Fellowes.”

    Miami Herald

  • “This is a book for a hot winter beach, an escape from life as we know it.”

    Independent (London)

  • “Deservedly compared to Tom Wolfe, Fellowes, with his ability to document the aristocracy with a sociologist’s eye, fashions intriguing narratives.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie Angel | 2/7/2014

    " Interminable repetitions of his theme(of change and how it affected his "Society") almost smothers the story (which isn't a bad one). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judith | 2/4/2014

    " I found the story line quite interesting and well told but Fellowe's tends to go on almost to the point of obsession with analysis of the British class system and that put me off. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathalie S | 2/4/2014

    " This is the second book that I've read by Julian Fellowes, he of DOWNTON ABBEY fame. I've quite enjoyed his exploits into the rarefied air of the English nobility and aristocracy, particularly in these modern times, when some hang on to their titles, even though the fortune is gone, or has been greatly reduced. Most look down on the nouveau riches, but yet, they will sometimes tolerate them, because they DO have all that money. This is such a story with Damian Baxter setting out in life, to ingratiate himself into this rarefied atmosphere by getting a roommate, the narrator of this book but whose name we never catch, to help him crash the "mating" season of London's 1968 as it were. Damian becomes the darling of all the girls because of his good looks, even though, he claws his way up the social ladder by loving them and leaving them. He finally does really fall in love with one of them, the beautiful Serena, and she, in turn, is wildly in love with him too. He tries to ingratiates himself with her family but her parents irrevocably shut the doors to what they see would be a ghastly "mesalliance", a marriage to a person of inferior social position. Bitter, Damian turns his back on these people and becomes wildly successful, amassing a fortune of 500 million pounds. He has everything but a wife (he's divorced) and a child. He is now dying of cancer and seeks out the narrator, three decades later, to find out if he does have a child from that time period, to pass down his fortune. Thus begins a bittersweet journey for the narrator. The ending of this book brought tears to my eyes as it reminded me that we should carefully weigh our actions and our words so that we may not look with regrets one day and feel our lives could have gone better, had we but thought more about our actions before shutting down doors. I was touched because of personal matters and it reinforced my belief that sometimes, we just have to keep our mouths shut for the greater good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roslyn Ross | 1/24/2014

    " Not as good as Snobs but still better than most of the fiction our there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dunja L. | 1/19/2014

    " i finally got my hands on the book that i've been waiting for some time to be published in my country. 'past imperfect' by julian fellowes is one of the books that every vorshiper of british culture should read, especially if you're familiar with and like his other work too. he portraits a group of londoners connected with friendship and love affairs in the sixties and their lives today, forty years later when they've all gone separate ways. the way he describes the era where aristocratic way of life clashed with the unconventional things that modern times have brought, the contrast of life back then and now, the status of high-class society and how it was changing are just some of the things that make this book more than enjoyable and interesting to read. although he's not focused directly on what popular culture was all about back then, you'll inevitably think about carnaby street and king's road, beatlemania and the rolling stones hyde park concert, groupies and mods, pattie boyd and twiggy, past times which seem like past perfect from today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kit | 1/14/2014

    " I really enjoyed listening to this book, which was about a group of upper-class British teenagers in 1968 and the handsome, lower-class interloper (Damian) who infiltrates the group and steals many girlish hearts. 40 years later, dying Damian, who has become a billionaire, asks a friend from those days to find an illegitimate child he fathered in 1970, who will inherit his fortune. The narrator is never given a name, which I found kind of annoying, but other than that, an excellent book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 1/4/2014

    " A mystery, a cultural critique, a novel. More than escapist fare, especially if you remember 1968, can understand the references and remember life in those days. The story is told from the viewpoint of someone who was in college then so is near my age now, thus making it particularly interesting for more than the story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eliza | 1/2/2014

    " Loved it. I wish he wrote more novels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 12/31/2013

    " One of the best books I've read. The writing is reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh; a book one reads slowly to enjoy every word. A story of the class sytem in Britain, of love, friendship and destiny. Recommend it very highly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lysergius | 12/25/2013

    " Extremely well written. On a par with Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead... Perceptive and witty with a sharp, slightly peevish, view of human failings... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 12/12/2013

    " This is pretty slight and pretty entertaining and pretty far fetched. It's also quite funny. It's certainly a world (of titled Britain in the 1960s) that most of us can't relate to. The reader of the audio version is very good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amy | 9/29/2013

    " I liked Snobs (and the movie Gosford Park, for which Fellowes wrote the screenplay) much better. I realized about 2/3 of the way in this one I wasn't crazy about this book, but it was too late to give up then. Overall, too wordy, too slow, too dull. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 9/2/2013

    " I liked the story well enough, but I was irritated by the long passages EXPLAINING the story. Let the characters speak for themselves! I understand the author is a successful screenwriter. That makes sense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Penney | 8/11/2013

    " Took awhile to follow authors style but really enjoyed it after giving it a chane "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Stephanie Seevers | 7/27/2013

    " Incredibly long winded and gives a lot of detail about things that aren't really pertinent and you don't really care about. The mystery was barely enough to sustain me through the 400+ pages. And when it was solved, I felt cheated by the result. Very underwhelming, tedious book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbra Luce-turner | 8/6/2012

    " The creator of Downton Abbey has written an excellent book offering a glimpse of the late 60s and present day England. He intertwines the past and present in an engaging way. A good bedtime read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Denise | 7/12/2012

    " This book was a little too long, and the big event that he spent most of the book teasing wasn't really as exciting as purported. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marybeth | 5/29/2012

    " Reading this led me to read Snobs, his other novel on British manors and manners. Liked Snobs better, but this too was a good book principally because of the beauty of the well-turned English heel it introduces. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alice | 4/3/2012

    " A fun read, I always enjoy Julian Fellowes's work and this was no exception. If you have not read Snobs, I highly recommend it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 12/7/2011

    " English society in the 1960s examined under the same sort of microscope as Downton Abbey. Interesting and sharp "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 5/25/2011

    " I liked this book after about 150 pages. It was a very complicated and emotional story and I liked how you were kept guessing about the back story between some of the characters. However, it felt like work to read this book so I'm not sure I'll read another by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miko | 4/19/2011

    " Started off slowly with many digressions that felt repetitive. However, by the time I reached the final chapters, I felt attached and I greatly enjoyed the ending! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pearlanne | 3/18/2011

    " He wrote the screenplay for Downton Abbey as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martin | 2/16/2011

    " A friend called Julian Fellowes' novels a guilty pleasure, and I know what she's saying. This is a social comedy about the British upper class--Julian Fellowes' territory--and it's compellingly readable.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mel | 12/13/2010

    " This novel isn't for those who like a plot-driven story. Those who enjoy droll, measured writing may enjoy it. My hardcover version of Past Imperfect has 410 pages. A talented editor could have brought it in around 300 pages and it would have merited four stars. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 11/9/2010

    " While I found this book to be quite entertaining, this book typifies why I often get annoyed whilst reading fiction. I felt that much of the "background" story rather lengthy and boring. Get to the point! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Verle | 11/6/2010

    " Great story, well written, of a mystery wrapped in 1960s England. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John | 9/20/2010

    " One of the best books I've read. The writing is reminiscent of Evelyn Waugh; a book one reads slowly to enjoy every word. A story of the class sytem in Britain, of love, friendship and destiny. Recommend it very highly. "

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About the Author
Author Julian FellowesEducated at Ampleforth and Magdalene College, Cambridge, Julian Fellowes is a multi-award-winning actor, writer, director and producer. As creator, sole writer, and executive producer of the hit television series DOWNTON ABBEY, Fellowes has won three Emmy awards.
About the Narrator

Richard Morant (1945–2011) appeared in numerous British stage and television productions, including Rumpole of the Bailey, Lord Peter Whimsey, and Tom Brown’s School Days.