Synopses & Reviews
Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of , 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 which 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 masterwork by "Britain's greatest living novelist" (, 1999), has been hailed as "outstanding" () and "wickedly and adroitly executed" (). " is, among other things, a comedy that holds a tragedy as an egg-cup holds an egg" ().
The divine Spark is shining at her brightest--pure delight.
A 1950s Kensington of shabby-genteel bedsitters, espresso bars...irradiated with the sudden glows of lyricism she can so beautifully effect.The divine Spark is shining at her brightest--pure delight.The plot arrow is large and sharp and accurate. There's crazies, death, fist-fighting, insults, medical emergencies, injustice ... hoodoo and more. -- Stephen Hanulec
Set on the crazier fringes of 1950s literary London, is a delight, hilariously portraying love, fraud, death, evil, and transformation.
About the Author
Muriel Spark (1918-2006) is the author of dozens of novels including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Memento Mori, A Far Cry from Kensington, The Girls of Slender Means, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, The Driver's Seat, Not to Disturb, and many more. She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.