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A Far Cry From Kensington
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The divine Spark is shining at her brightest ... Pure delight' Claire Tomalin, INDEPENDENT

About the Author

Born in Edinburgh, Muriel Spark was internationally famous and received the Italia Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the FNAC Prix Etranger and the Saltire Prize, among many others. She was elected an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1978 and to L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 1988. She died in April 2006.

Reviews

Even the title is witty in this latest of Spark's delightful novels, bearing as it does at least three layers of ambiguity. It is a tale told in a splendidly commonsensical way by Mrs. Hawkins, a buxom young war widow who is a tower of strength in a failing London publishing house during the lean years after WW II. She is surrounded, both at work and in her seedy Kensington boarding house, by those slightly off-center eccentrics the Englishand particularly Sparkdraw to perfection; everything on the surface seems utterly realistic, yet fantasy as rich as anything in Garcia Marquez is only a breath away. Mrs. Hawkins selects a hate object among the literary hangers-on at her firm, and that hatred changes her life. She also becomes involved with a Polish dressmaker with a dark secret, invents a supremely successful method of dieting and almost in spite of herself becomes happy. Spark knows the wonderfully zany world of postwar-London publishing backward, her wit has never been more telling, and any book person is going to gobble this up. A sample, to whet the appetite: ``Publishers, for obvious reasons, attempt to make friends with their authors. Martin York tried to make authors of his friends.'' (July)

The divine Spark is shining at her brightest... Pure delight - Claire Tomalin, INDEPENDENTAn outstanding novel...A FAR CRY FROM KENSINGTON has an effortless, translucent grasp of the spirit of the period - OBSERVERWonderfully entertaining - full of absurd, comical, engaging characters and written with typical wit, elegance and aplomb - SUNDAY TELEGRAPHOne of Muriel Spark s most liberating, liberated and meditative novels. Spark is a writer who can take the meditative and make it mercurially funny, playful and mischievous - Ali Smith

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. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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