A Far Cry from Kensington

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A Far Cry From Kensington
First edition (UK)
Author Muriel Spark
Cover artist Pat Doyle
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Constable (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 189
ISBN 0-09-468290-9

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

Plot introduction[edit]

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.[1]

Publication history[edit]



  1. ^ Strange Men and Entertaining Women, Robert Plunkett, New York Times, July 31, 1988
  2. ^ www.fantasticfiction.co.uk