A Far Cry from Kensington

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New Directions Publishing, Sep 17, 2000 - Fiction - 189 pages
2 Reviews

Set on the crazier fringes of 1950s literary London, A Far Cry from Kensington is a delight, hilariously portraying love, fraud, death, evil, and transformation.

Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of A Far Cry from Kensington, takes us well in hand, and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fat and much admired young war widow, she spent her days working for a mad, near-bankrupt publisher ("of very good books") and her nights dispensing advice at her small South Kensington rooming-house. At work and at home Mrs. Hawkins soon uncovered evil: shady literary doings and a deadly enemy; anonymous letters, blackmail, and suicide. With aplomb, however, Mrs. Hawkins confidently set about putting things to order, little imagining the mayhem which would ensue. Now decades older, thin, successful, and delighted with life in Italy -- quite a far cry from Kensington -- Mrs. Hawkins looks back to all those dark doings, and recounts how her own life changed forever. She still, however, loves to give advice: "It's easy to get thin. You eat and drink the same as always, only half....I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book." A masterwork by "Britain's greatest living novelist" (Sunday Telegraph, 1999), A Far Cry from Kensington has been hailed as "outstanding" (The Observer) and "wickedly and adroitly executed" (The New York Times). "Far Cry is, among other things, a comedy that holds a tragedy as an egg-cup holds an egg" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

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A far cry from Kensington

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This 1988 novel is told from the perspective of Mrs. Hawkins, who, now living a leisurely existence in Italy, looks back on her days as a young widow employed by an oddball publisher. Typical Spark ... Read full review

A far cry from Kensington

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Spark's latest novel is a taut, controlled portrait of the residents of a Kensington boarding house and the members of London's publishing world in 1954. Linking the two settings is Mrs. Hawkins, a ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

The writer of “some of the best sentences in English” (The New Yorker), Muriel Spark (1918–2006) was the author of dozens of novels including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Memento Mori, and The Driver’s Seat. She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.

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