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A Far Cry from Kensington

Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (288 ratings)
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Summary

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.

Narrated by Juliet Stevenson, A Far Cry from Kensington shows Muriel Spark at the mature height of her powers. Rediscover this classic on the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark's birth.

©1988 Muriel Spark (P)2013 Canongate Books Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

some writer some narrator good story.

What more could a fellow want than Muriel, Julliet and Audible. As close to heaven you'll get.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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an absolute joy

brilliant story artfully performed - perfect to accompany my afternoon dog walks in the woods, also a far cry from Kensington

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Wonderfully crafted.

Listed to this after really enjoying Prime of Miss Jean Brodie last week. Bit embarrassed I'm 45 and not read any Muriel Sparks before because her stories conjure the most wonderful visual images of the characters. Nice accents from Juliet Stephenson too.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Really enjoyed it

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book.
I liked the main strong female character, and how she interacted with others.
Also the reader had a lovely warm, rich voice.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Spark flies

What the hell just happened? - you may think at the end. It does not matter so much. The pleasure is mostly in Spark’s idiosyncratic narrative voice, full of surprising turns and dry observations with the occasional devastating image.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An Unexpected Pleasure

This book was a surprise and a joy to listen to. This story was interesting, thought-provoking and very clever. It was enhanced by very good narration; I enjoyed it very much

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Pisseur de copie!

The reading is wonderful, the recording is tight and Muriel Spark is funny, sharp, linguistically crisp and refreshing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well worth a listen

A wonderfully funny (but as always with Muriel Spark, with an undercurrent of darkness) story told in Stevenson's brilliant style.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Kept me listening

as always loved Juliet Stevenson's narration which is so wonderful. all the accents beautifully done. loved the story, amusing, touching and simple.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What a Treat.

I really loved this book, for all sorts of reasons. Muriel Spark's tale of a widow in her late twenties making her way in the world of 1950s publishing and living in a Kensington boarding house is an absolute gem.

Mrs.Hawkins, the main protagonist, looks back on her life during this period from a vantage point some years afterwards and from a place that is a 'far cry from Kensington'.She gives advice on life, love, weight loss and work to various people, whether it is sought or not and conducts a mildly adversarial campaign against an aspiring but untalented author. The latter takes up with a well-known lady author and also with one of Mrs.Hawkins' fellow boarders in an attempt to discredit and damage Mrs H. His actions end in tragedy.

This is a charming story which is both poignant and humorous. The details of life in 1950s London were engaging, as were the characters. l loved every minute of it.

Juliet Stevenson was an excellent narrator overall. There were a slightly dodgy Scottish accent at one stage but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book.