A Far Cry from Kensington

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A Far Cry from Kensington

Format:  Paperback,

189 pages

Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc

Publish Date: Sep 2000

ISBN-13: 9780811214575

ISBN-10: 0811214575

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
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).

Specifications

Author:
Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
Publish Date: Sep 2000
ISBN-13: 9780811214575
ISBN-10: 0811214575
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 189
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.45
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.16 x 0.5 x 7.9

About the author

Biography of Spark, Muriel

Writer Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh on February 1, 1918. In 1934-1935 she took a course in commercial correspondence and prcis writing at Heriot-Watt College. After her marriage in 1937, she lived for some years in Central Africa. During World War II, she returned to Britain, where she worked in the Political Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office after the breakup of her marriage. After the war, she began her literary career.

She became General Secretary of the Poetry Society, worked as an editor and wrote studies of Mary Shelley, John Masefield and the Bront sisters. Her first book of poetry, The Fanfarlo and Other Verse, was published in 1952 and her first novel, The Comforters, was published in 1957. She wrote over twenty books including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The Finishing School. She won numerous awards and honors including the 1965 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Mandelbaum Gate, the 1992 U. S. Ingersoll Foundation T. S. Eliot Award, the 1997 David Cohen British Literature Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and in 1993 she became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her services to literature. The Scottish Arts Council created the Muriel Spark International Fellowship in 2004. She died on April 13, 2006.

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2001-02-01)

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, the plot soon becomes laced with mystery involving blackmail, suicide, and other dastardly doings. Great fun.

Review by Library Journal (1988-07)

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 solid young widow who becomes a center of normalcy as she solves the novel's clever mystery. Spark balances devastatingly eccentric characters and funny situations with darker elements, even pathos. Her well-constructed novel has no loose ends and few contrived situations. Characterizations and plot details reveal her at her best; comparison with Spark's The Girls of Slender Means and Memento Mori is tempting. Serious yet entertaining fiction; for most libraries. Elizabeth Guiney Sandvick, North Hennepin Community Coll., Minneapolis

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

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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