by Sukey HowardApril, 2005
Snobs is an irresistible audio presentation; its witty, scathingly accurate skewering of the higher echelons of British society becoming ever so more delightful when delivered in the smooth, honeyed accents of a real Brit, Richard Morant, who knows the territory. But it is debut novelist Julian Fellowes, whose debut screenplay was Gosford Park, we must thank for this romp through the intricacies of belonging and longing to belong, of inherited privilege and acquired privilege (never the same, darling) and the crystal ceiling that separates upper class from upper middle class. Fellowes has a flawless eye for detail and an ear for dialogue and seems to be writing with a razor-sharp social scalpel. Snobs is a delicious tale of social climbing and the inevitable pitfalls and pratfalls therein, filled with cleverly drawn characters: the lovely, porcelain-skinned but not upper-class Edith; the dull but likable Charles, the Earl Broughton, heir to a great fortune and Edith's ticket to a title; his mother, the elegant, socially expert, utterly confident, stand-by-your-son Lady Uckfield; and the drop-dead handsome actor who muddied the waters but didn't sink the ship.