First published in 1988 and described by Ali Smith as “one of Muriel Spark's most liberating, and meditative novels”, A Far Cry from Kensington shows Muriel Spark at the mature height of her powers.
The narrator is one Mrs. Hawkins. She writes from Italy, a far cry from Kensington indeed, taking us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. As a young, rather fat war-widow she spent her days working for a crazy, almost bankrupt publisher; and her nights offering advice from her boarding-house in South Kensington. In both locations our heroine soon uncovered difficulties: shady literary dealings; anonymous letters, blackmail, and even suicide.
Whilst Mrs. Hawkins innocently, confidently put about setting things right, she could little imagine the ensuing mayhem and consequences. Now many decades older, thinner, and pleased with her situation in Italy, Mrs. Hawkins reflects on all those dark happenings, recounting how her own life changed forever.
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Muriel Spark - not for me