Kingsley Amis’ deliciously malicious tale tackles twin irritations: the inevitability of growing old, and living in a world inhabited by others.
At Tuppenny-ha’penny Cottage in the English countryside, five elderly people live together in rancorous disharmony. Adela Bastable bosses the house, as her brother Bernard passes his days thinking up malicious schemes against the baby-talking Marigold and secret drinker Shorty, while kindly George lies bedridden upstairs. The mismatched quintet keep their spirits alive by bickering and waiting for grandchildren to visit at Christmas. But this festive season does not herald goodwill to all.