A Far Cry from Kensington

  • by Muriel Spark
  • Narrated by Pamela Garelick
  • 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Set on the crazier fringes of 1950s literary London, A Far Cry from Kensington is a delight, hilariously portraying love, fraud, death, evil, and transformation.
Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of A Far Cry from Kensington, takes us well in hand and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fat and much admired young war widow, she spent her days working for a mad, near-bankrupt publisher (“of very good books”) and her nights dispensing advice at her small South Kensington rooming house.
At work and at home, Mrs. Hawkins soon uncovered evil: shady literary doings and a deadly enemy; anonymous letters, blackmail, and suicide. With aplomb, however, Mrs. Hawkins confidently set about putting things to order, little imagining the mayhem that would ensue.
Now decades older, thin, successful, and delighted with life in Italy—quite a far cry from Kensington—Mrs. Hawkins looks back to all those dark doings and recounts how her own life changed forever. She still, however, loves to give advice: “It’s easy to get thin. You eat and drink the same as always, only half…. I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book.”
A Far 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).


What the Critics Say

“Wickedly and adroitly executed.” (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Truth Teller In The Midst Of Posers & The Clueless

When I started reading this sharply written, engrossing tragicomedy I would often pause and wonder "what is this odd book really about". The story transports the listener back to post war 1950s London--the publishing world and life in a rooming house peopled by a collection of eccentric characters.

Spark's writing is spare--but with limited carefully chosen words she is able to paint multidimensional pictures and tell a richly textured story. Coupled with Pamela Garelick's fantastic narration, I felt as though I had watched a movie rather than listened to an audiobook. The scenes were vivid and the characters and their interaction entrancing.

The commentary on the world of publishing, the witless ease people have in misreading the skills and abilities of themselves and others, and the insights into personal behavior were dryly funny. Underlying all this comedy was the mystery, the tragedy and the charlatan. Oh and yes--the translation of the oft repeated french phrase that caused so much trouble is "writer who churns out rubbish".

In the end, it all becomes clear and the story is definitely worth the time spent listening. I wonder how I missed this gem until now. The writing and narration are both top-notch and perfect.
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- Sara "Avid Reader"

Pamela Garelick

I love the wickedly low-key humor of this book, but most of all I love the reading of Pamela Garelick. She is now my absolute favorite reader. Her voice is perfect for the book, and she gets all the intonations and moods exactly right. When she does different voices, she's just perfect. I would be thrilled if she got a lot more narration jobs.
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- Maine Colonial

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-09-2011
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.