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A Far Cry from Kensington

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Cover artist  Pat Doyle
Publication date  1988
Pages  189
Author  Muriel Spark
Genre  Fiction
3.8/5 Goodreads

Language  English
Media type  Print
Originally published  1988
Page count  189
Country  United Kingdom
A Far Cry from Kensington t3gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcRohd9jlPUrbBjDV
Publisher  Constable (UK) Houghton Mifflin (US)
Similar  Muriel Spark books, Fiction books

A Far Cry From Kensington is a novel (roman à clef) by Scottish author Muriel Spark published in 1988.


Plot introduction

Set in 1954 it is narrated by Agnes (known as Nancy) Hawkins; a young war-widow lodging in a rooming house in South Kensington and working as an editor at a struggling publishing house. The story centres on Wanda, a highly strung Polish dressmaker who is on the receiving end of various threatening letters and on Hector Bartlett who appears to be stalking Agnes and through whom she loses her job.

The story also features the pseudoscience of radionics.


Writing in The New York Times, Robert Plunkett believes it to be 'her most delightful novel in years' and explains "the best way to convey the pleasure this novel gives is to compare it to a wonderful old Alec Guinness movie, something along the lines of The Lavender Hill Mob. True, it follows the rules of art right down the line and illuminates the human condition, etc. But it also meets a trickier challenge, that of being superb entertainment.

Publication history

  • 1988, UK, Constable, ISBN 0-09-468290-9, Pub date 21 Mar 1988, Hardback
  • 1988, US, Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0-395-47694-1, Pub date Jul 1988, Hardback
  • 1988, Canada, Viking, ISBN 0-670-82250-7, Hardback
  • 1989, UK, Thorndike Press, ISBN 0-89621-231-9, Pub date Mar 1989, Large print (h/b)
  • 1989, UK, Penguin, ISBN 0-14-010874-2, Pub date 25 May 1989, Paperback
  • 1990, US, Avon, ISBN 0-380-70786-1, Pub date Jan 1990, Paperback
  • 1990, UK, Chivers, ISBN 0-7451-7187-7, Pub date Mar 1990, Large print (h/b)
  • 1991, US, Listening Library, ISBN 0-8072-3186-X, Pub date, Dec 1991, Audio cassette, read by Eleanor Bron
  • 2000, UK, New Direction, ISBN 0-8112-1457-5, Pub date 10 Oct 2000, Paperback
  • 2008, UK, Virago, ISBN 1-84408-527-9, Pub date 1 May 2008, Hardback
  • 2009, UK, Virago, ISBN 1-84408-551-1, Pug date 05 Nov 2009, Paperback
  • 2011, UK, Blackstone, ISBN various, Audio CD/Cassette/MP3, read by Pamela Garelick
  • References

    A Far Cry from Kensington Wikipedia

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