Sareen's Reviews > A Far Cry from Kensington

A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark
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really liked it

This book is a page turner, the narrative carries you along at such a pace, without seeming to rush and before you know it you’re halfway through the next chapter.

Although this is a relatively short novel, Mrs Hawkins is a character I feel will stay with me.

Reflecting on her time working in publishing in the 1950s, she introduces us to various characters who were, at the time, important in her life. There is Milly, the Irish landlady and the cast of her rooming house including Wanda, a Polish seamstress, William, a student doctor and Isobel who hasn’t quite let go of her father’s apron strings among others.

The cast includes those from Mrs Hawkin’s various jobs and although there are many characters, Muriel Spark has managed to make them memorable. (I think this would be great as a play!)

The mystery and intrigue in the novel come from Mrs Hawkin’s relationship with the sinister Hector Bartlett, whom she calls a ‘pissuer de copie’ and his lover Emma Loy, both of whom attempt to manipulate Mrs Hawkins.

Mrs Hawkins realises she is regarded as much older than she is, perhaps due to her widowed status? She comes across as a strong, reliable character and as the novel progresses she takes control of her weight, resolutely stands by her beliefs with regards to religion and her opinion of the odious Hector Bartlett.

This book provides us with an interesting snapshot of life in post war London including references to the extreme poverty suffered.

There are some light-hearted moments and Spark does have fun with the names she has chosen, for example, Howard Send.

This is a novel I feel would definitely stand up to re-reading and I am very tempted to just start it again soon! A wee gem.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
December 12, 2017 – Shelved

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