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A Far Cry From Kensington

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Drew and Adrian,
I recently read A Far Cry From Kensington. How did I miss this one and not read it sooner? I liked it a lot and was amazed at how autobiographical it was. Also quite funny (that is, I smiled a lot while reading it) in that subtle way that Spark is funny. Witty might be a better word. I liked this book almost as much as Loitering With Intent (one of my favorites) and found that the two books had a similar feel, perhaps because they are both written in first person and have a female protagonist. I once read an interview where, if I recall correctly, Spark said her first person stories are probably less autobiographical than her others (this remark is grossly paraphrased and from memory). I don't agree.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Kathleen wrote: "I recently read A Far Cry From Kensington. How did I miss this one and not read it sooner? I liked it a lot and was amazed at how autobiographical it was. Also quite funny (that is, I smiled a lot while reading it) in that subtle way that Spark is funny. Witty might be a better word. I liked this book almost as much as Loitering With Intent (one of my favorites) and found that the two books had a similar feel, perhaps because they are both written in first person and have a female protagonist."

I'm going to reread those two within the year. They didn't make an impression on me for some reason, probably because it was the wrong time for me to be reading them or I was expecting them to be something else.

I was really disappointed with Not to Disturb. But I reread The Driver's Seat the next evening and found it still fresh & disorienting, while the former novel seemed stale & tired.

I'm reading The Bachelors for the first time now and enjoying it. Spark has a way of tipping me off-balance with a bit of dialogue or description.




message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

When you finish The Bachelors, let me know what you think, okay? I really liked it but I'll hold off on commenting because I don't want to spoil anything for you.
I tried reading The Driver's Seat in April but I had just seen the movie. (I believe Spark felt that casting Liz Taylor as Lise--was that her name?--was a bad move and not at all the type of woman she had in mind.)It was difficult for me to get into the book so soon after seeing the movie--which was quite disturbing, I might add. I will have to try again, since you liked it so much, Drew gave it 5 stars, and Spark herself really liked it.
I haven't read Not to Disturb either but it's on my list. I may have to move it to the bottom based on your comments. I haven't read many of her "mid-career" books--the ones she wrote in the 1970s. They're on my list too. Someday...


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Kathleen wrote: "I tried reading The Driver's Seat in April but I had just seen the movie. (I believe Spark felt that casting Liz Taylor as Lise--was that her name?--was a bad move and not at all the type of woman she had in mind.)It was difficult for me to get into the book so soon after seeing the movie--which was quite disturbing, I might add. I will have to try again, since you liked it so much, Drew gave it 5 stars, and Spark herself really liked it."

Yikes. I've avoided the movie since someone made a tacky music video from it not too long ago. Scenes of Liz Taylor smearing make-up on her face over & over. (Strangely enough, Taylor might have given a better, more convincing performance a few years earlier if she'd had the same director from Secret Ceremony.)





message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't know Secret Ceremony. It sounds like a film you'd recommend?
After investigating several groups, I've decided to stick with the Spark and Greene groups, even though they're not all that active, because these are two authors I'd like to read much more of. I still want to read something of Iris Murdoch's, because I think I'll like her work, and I see you've read a lot of her books. Thanks for all the recommendations. Let me know if you read anything fabulous, okay?


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Sep 03, 2009 09:04PM) (new)

Kathleen wrote: "I don't know Secret Ceremony. It sounds like a film you'd recommend?
After investigating several groups, I've decided to stick with the Spark and Greene groups, even though they're not all that ac..."


Not sure if I'd recommend it unless you're in the mood for an odd film with a cold, strange atmosphere and undercurrents of dread, which is what reminded me of the Spark novel. Actually, now that I consider it, Taylor's co-star in that film, Mia Farrow, would have been a closer approximation to the unbalanced Lise.

I think I've burned out on Internet groups.




message 7: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments I also took out this one from the library as I saw that a thread was devoted to it...will report back after I've read it.


message 8: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments Have this out from the library again (A Far Cry from Kensington)...anyone want to join me in a 'group read'? It's not long...

from the book flap:
"Here is everything we've come to expect from Spark: a vivid and eccentric cast of characters, an ingenious plot whose unfolding is a pleasure unto itself, and above all, the celebrated prose, deft and elegant and accurate as a dart. Here, in short, is a wonderful new novel by Muriel Spark" (1988)


message 9: by Sketchbook (last edited Jul 21, 2011 10:44AM) (new)

Sketchbook "Secret Ceremony," btw, had oft wonderful Joseph Losey as dir. (He did "The Servant," "Eva," etc.) "The Driver.." is mad camp. Liz wanted to destroy the negatifs. I much liked Spark's novella (for that's what she wrote), "Aiding and Abetting," inspired by a fav true crimer of mine, Lord Lucan & the nanny he killed x mistake. Then he disappeared: forever! Maybe he's now a buttle to Wendi Murdoch. Spark's take on the murder is vastly original, but - alas - she has serio problems coming up w a Finale. Still, I recommend.


message 10: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Jessica: I lost my own thread, or yours. Yes, I'd like to join you in "Ken" read, but can't get to it for a week or so.


message 11: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments okay, just let me know when...


message 12: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments I did read 'Aiding & Abetting' I think...will have to check.


message 13: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Didja read "Not to Disturb" ? A 1971 Spark recently republished. Friends tell me it is purty-kkkrazy wild.


message 14: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments No! never read it...maybe should.


message 15: by Mark (new)

Mark (pericles) | 13 comments hi all. Just found your group, can't believe I didn't think to search out a Spark gathering before. Love Muriel Spark and i love reading other writers' books on her especially if I don't always agree with their ideas cos its great to see anotherr view. Never fully understood ' Not to Disturb' and found ' Hothouse by the East river ' a tad unsettling too.


message 16: by Jessica (last edited Aug 04, 2011 05:51AM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments Haven't read the latter...in fact, I haven't read the first either. I'm relatively new to Spark. Sketchbook and I are reading 'A Far Cry from Kensington' now...want to join us? (maybe a reread for you)?


message 17: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments I'm determined to read a lot more of her this year--she is very much underappreciated in my opinion. I own the Stannard bio now, so will be reading that as well--


message 18: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments Mark: is Spark appreciated in Scotland, the UK?
She's not well known enough in the U.S.


message 19: by Sketchbook (last edited Aug 04, 2011 06:08AM) (new)

Sketchbook Spark was early 40s when her fiction began..always dicey finances. The adapted play "Jean Brodie" was huge hit (stage-screen), gave her financial security and a Name as the adapted "Berlin Stories" ("I Am a Camera"/"Cabaret") made Isherwood wealthy.


message 20: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments Greene lent her or gave her money often, no?


message 21: by Mark (new)

Mark (pericles) | 13 comments i think spark is quite underated in UK sadly. as to ' kensington ' will reread it very happily


message 22: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments wonderful. Hop aboard--


message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments Finished...and I liked it a lot.

Will get my review done, tonight or tomorrow--


message 24: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Aok!


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments Here's my review, no spoilers in it I don't think:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 26: by Jessica (last edited Aug 10, 2011 03:35PM) (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments Sketch and Mark, you guys should post links to your reviews (for all of the other 6 Sparkdom members ;-)


message 27: by Mark (new)

Mark (pericles) | 13 comments i would if i knew how too. will see if i can work it out on computer tomorrow


message 28: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments that's okay, I'll post them for you...


(I just copy and paste, don't know how to do hyperlinks beyond that--).


message 29: by Jessica (new)


message 31: by Mark (new)

Mark (pericles) | 13 comments thanks for that Jessica, you're a star


message 32: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments :)


message 33: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jesstrea) | 54 comments now we just need to get more folks to join and be active here in Muriel Sparkdom...


message 34: by Sketchbook (new)

Sketchbook Jessica wrote: "Here is Sketchbook's:


http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/..."


Tx, Jessica.


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