These Foolish Things, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The book that inspired the box office hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and this year's The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Dev Patel and Penelope WiltonEnticed by advertisements for a luxury retirement home in India, a group of strangers leave England to begin a new life.

On arrival, however, they discover the palace is a shell of its former self, the staff are more than a little eccentric and the days of the Raj appear to be long gone. But, as they soon discover, life and love can begin again, even in the most unexpected circumstances.


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A very different book to what I had expected. I thought it was going to be a light-hearted comedy when in fact, it’s much more. I loved all of the characters, feeling they were a good representation either of their gender, age or nationality. The novel opens with Ravi, born in India but lived in London having trained as a doctor. His wife Pauline has the patience of a saint where her father, Norman, is concerned. Norman is once more living with them, having been asked to leave yet another residential home. This is to Ravi’s disgust and is having a detrimental effect on his marriage. One evening his cousin Sonny is visiting London on business and Ravi unburdens himself. It is at this point that Sonny hits on the idea to build a residential home in Bangalore, India. The plan comes through and Norman is the first resident. Slowly, we are introduced to all the characters who eventually come to stay Dunroamin (play on words from ‘done roaming’). We hear their stories about why they got there and about their family lives. Some of the stories are brutally honest and seem to be representative of the aged today. Their initial fears of moving to India and also their prejudices are eventually put to one side as they realise one culture is not that different to another. Wonderfully written with superb narrative and characterisations, there are definite highlights and lowlights to retiring to a residential home but moving to another country was not one of the lowlights. It had an effect on all of the residents, making them evaluate their lives and what was important to them. I got to the end of novel having felt happy and sad – all the signs of a good writer to instil emotions in their reader.

Review by

While the premise was fun, the focus was a bit off, with far too many characters having their stories told. It would have been more effective if the author had concentrated on one or two main stories and let the other characters take a bit more of a back seat.

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