By Muriel Spark
Set at the crazier fringes of Fifties literary London, a much Cry from Kensington is a pride, hilariously portraying love, fraud, demise, evil, and transformation.
Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of a much Cry from Kensington, takes us good in hand, and leads us again to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fats and lots more and plenty popular younger warfare widow, she spent her days operating for a mad, near-bankrupt writer (of first-class books) and her nights meting out suggestion at her small South Kensington rooming-house. At paintings and at domestic Mrs. Hawkins quickly exposed evil: shady literary doings and a perilous enemy; nameless letters, blackmail, and suicide. With aplomb, besides the fact that, Mrs. Hawkins expectantly set approximately placing issues to reserve, little imagining the mayhem which might occur.
Now many years older, skinny, profitable, and overjoyed with existence in Italy -- relatively a much cry from Kensington -- Mrs. Hawkins seems to be again to all these darkish doings, and recounts how her personal existence replaced endlessly. She nonetheless, although, likes to provide suggestion: "It's effortless to get skinny. You devour and drink just like consistently, in simple terms half....I provide this recommendation with out cost; it truly is incorporated within the fee of this book."
A a ways Cry from Kensington has been hailed as "outstanding" (Observer), "wickedly and adroitly executed" (New York Times), and "a comedy that holds a tragedy as an eggcup holds an egg" (Philadelphia Inquirer).
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Additional resources for A Far Cry from Kensington
I was still so surprised at the old woman's strange vocabulary that I took the letter in my stride. The woman watched me from the other end of the corridor, leaning on her mop. I held up the envelope. "Got it. Thanks. " She frowned, not understanding the question. " I started another little mime and she shook her head. " "No worry," she said, and returned to her windows. A couple of minutes later I was sitting on my bed with the ceiling fan chilling the back of my neck, and the map in my hands.
One time I got punched doing the Nigger Lover," Sammy said, as he began to roll another joint. " I wasn't at all surprised. The act involved Sammy starting violent arguments with total strangers, insisting that because there's a country in Africa called Niger, all people from Niger were niggers — regardless of whether they were black or white. " I asked, bristling slightly, despite knowing I was being suckered. Sammy shook his head. "That's what everyone says, but I don't think so. Think about it.
I decided not to continue directly to the guest-house, where Étienne and Françoise would be wanting to talk about the beach and the map. I felt like a bit of time alone. We'd arranged to catch the eight-thirty train south so there was no need for me to get back for at least two hours. I took a left off the Khao San Road, went down an alley, ducked under the scaffold of a half-finished building, and came out on a busy main street. I suddenly found myself surrounded by Thais. I'd half forgotten which country I was in, stuck in backpacker land, and It took me a few minutes to adjust to the change.