Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: A Far Cry from Kensington

Set in the mid-twentieth century London publishing world, this is a quirky and enjoyable read. The book is structured as a flashback, as Mrs. Hawkins looks back on her youth, working for a minor Kensington publisher. She looks back from the comforts of her retirement in Italy. As a young war widow Mrs. Hawkins lived on a small salary reviewing manuscripts for her employer. Her duties led her to an ongoing feud with an untalented hack writer, who believes firmly in his own merit, but whose clunky prose Mrs. Hawkins dismisses. After brandishing him with a somewhat amusing moniker, she becomes the target of his revenge. Their ongoing feud reveals to Mrs. Hawkins a seedy underbelly of the publishing industry, one that she may unknowingly expose. The ending is both bizarre and entertaining, and the characters are originals.

Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington (New Directions, 2000, orig. 1988) ISBN: 0811214575

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