Margaret Kennedy Reading Week: Updates and a Book to be Won

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So, what are we reading?

I’m going to work through the novels chronologically, but I may be distracted along the way ….

Cat and Audrey are both reading ‘The Ladies of Lyndon’ and they both – quite independently – highlighted a wonderful opening paragraph.

I believe that My Book Strings is reading this one. And that Jo has read it too.

Kirsty has finished reading and she had mixed feelings, saying:

“Whilst ‘The Ladies of Lyndon’ is nicely written on the whole, it does feel rather dated ….”

Ali was very taken with ‘The Constant Nymph, saying:

“I absolutely loved it, at once fully involving myself with the characters, as I became immersed in the world of ‘Sanger’s Circus’. I think Margaret Kennedy might be an author whose work I will have to read much more of.”

Helen is reading this one too.

GenusRosa has written a lovely piece about ‘The Fool of the Family.’

She says:

“The intense bursts of lucid, fresh prose often kept me thinking about what I had just read. As a musician, there were many elements of the novel that resonated with my own perspective.”

I know that Darlene is reading ‘Together and Apart’, because it says so in her sidebar, and I am very curious to know what she thinks of it.

Kirsty had words of praise for this book:

“Kennedy discusses familial relationships and their breakdown throughout the novel, and everything which she touches upon is shown in mind of the impending divorce.  Together and Apart, even all these years later, is still an important novel, just as relevant to our society today as it was upon its publication.”

Tina was planning to read this too.

Kaggsy was very impressed by ‘The Feast’ and she said:

“Reading “The Feast” was a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience and I’m so glad I chose it. In fact, I think it will benefit from a re-read as I was so anxious to reach the conclusion that I’m sure there are many profound little bits I’ve missed.”

Cirtnecce has also read ‘The Feast’, and she told me that she loved it.

Cynthia is reading ‘Lucy Carmichael’ and I’m sure she is going to be one of the many who have fallen in love with that particular book. I think its still my favourite Margaret Kennedy novel.

I was very taken with The Wild Swan, I know that Lisa is reading the same book, and I’m looking forward to comparing notes.

I’ve read ‘Night at Cold Harbour’ too, and I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

You’ll find Simon‘s review of ‘The Forgotten Smile’ in  very fine new edition of Shiny New Books.

He says:

“One of the unexpectedly appealing things about The Forgotten Smile is the way that Kennedy plays with structure. It feels a bit as though the novel were a jigsaw puzzle that had fallen apart and been haphazardly reassembled, as the sections of the story are not given in either a linear order or any particularly logical one. It shouldn’t work, but it does.”

Eliza is reading ‘Outlaws on Parnassus’, Margaret’s Kennedy’s non-fiction work about the art of the novelist, and she described it thus:

 “Dated but full of excellent points. Also dry wit.”

And that reminds me that Claire has three of Margaret Kennedy’s works in her library pile: ‘The Feast’, ‘Lucy Carmichael’, and ‘Where Stands a Winged Sentry’.

I think that’s all I have. I hope I haven’t missed anyone, but if I have just let me know and I’ll add you to the list.

* * * * *

And so to the giveaway.

It’s very simple. You could win any in-print Margaret Kennedy novel in print. Just tell me which one you’d like to have if you win, and at least one very good reason why.

Some books are available already, and some of the reissues have been delayed and are now expected on 16th October. So the choices are:

Available now:

The Ladies of Lyndon
The Constant Nymph
The Fool of the Family
The Midas Touch
The Feast
Lucy Carmichael
The Oracles
The Forgotten Smile

Coming soon:

Return I Dare Not
A Long Time Ago
Together and Apart
Troy Chimneys
A Night in Cold Harbour

Now tell me, which book would you like to win?

37 responses

  1. How lovely to have so many people reading Margaret Kennedy. I am going to be starting The Ladies of Lyndon tomorrow or Saturday depending on how soon I finish my latest Anthony Powell.
    Having just read The Constant Nymph and having so enjoyed GenusRosa’ s review I would love to win The Fool of the family.

  2. Hi, I came via Simon, bless his heart. I have to tell you,Kennedy is really hard to find in Upstate NY. I’m trying though

  3. Your enthusiasm for Margaret Kennedy is very infectious! I’d love to win a copy of The Constant Nymph as it’s her most celebrated work (and I like the sound of the premise).

  4. O heavens to Betsy !!! I was just reading through your list of books to be won when I realised that I bought The Ladies Of Lyndon just the other week!! I am such an obsessive acquirer of books that I forget these things! So now I don’t need to win one at all . Have been v inspired reading all the reviews and shall be moving it up to the top of the TBR directly !!!

  5. Thank you so much for hosting! The Midas Touch sounds rather wonderful and quirky (I like quirky) so I’d be keen to win that!

  6. This is so much fun – thank you again for hosting it. I have Ladies, Together, and Constant, so I think I’d like to win any of the others that you would recommend next. How’s that for buttering up the prize giver? 🙂

    I also wanted to tell everyone that I noticed some clips from the 1940s movie of The Constant Nymph here: I don’t know if they will play across the pond, but I just sent myself an email reminder to watch the movie when they broadcast it in December!

  7. Pingback: The Cliff and Morality… | Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices.....

  8. Thanks for putting all this together for us. I’m having great fun reading everyone’s posts – have to say I have different views than Kirsty on The Ladies – I loved it!
    If I have to choose it will be Lucy Carmichael because it’s your favourite or The Feast because of Kaggy’s review.

    • I have yet to meet The Ladies,but I have the feeling from the style of the passages I’ve read that they will divide opinions. I thought of you this afternoon when I found ‘The End of Childhood’ by Henry Handel Richardson in a second-hand bookshop. I bought it home, but I shall have to order in Richard Mahoneyfrom the library’s reserve fiction first.

  9. I am reading The Forgotten Smile and liking it very much. Margaret Kennedy is next to impossible to find in Texas, that is why I love The Book Depository! I would really enjoy reading Lucy Carmichael since you and others have spoken so highly of it. Sort of makes me wish I had chosen that one for my first Kennedy novel…

    • The Book Depository is so useful for me in rural England where the bookshops are small. Lucy Carmichael is lovely, but I think that because MKs novels are quite diverse reading order doesn’t matter too much.

  10. Kennedy is also very hard to find in rural New England. Sounds like the Book Depository is the way to go. To answer the giveaway question, The Forgotten Smile sounds so intriguing both for its setting (I would love to read about an idyllic Greek island as we head into another snowbound winter) and for its unusual structure. Thank you for bringing this author to my attention!

  11. I think I’d like to read Lucy Carmichael. If I have my dates right, then The Ladies of Lyndon was her first novel and Lucy was her last. I’d be interested in finding out how the two compare.

  12. I was hoping to finish The Wild Swan today, but it looks like it will be tomorrow. I have a couple of days off later in the month – I wish I could use them now to stay home & read. I am saving the different posts about the books I haven’t read until I do read them, because with MK I find an interesting unpredictability. I like not that I can’t always predict where they are going! If I was giving a book away, it would be Lucy Carmichael, because it brings out the book evangelist in me.

  13. My favourite is TOGETHER AND APART which is dated but it is my favourite Kennedy book so far.I am a sucker for love triangles and 1920s era.But i would choose to win A NIGHT IN COLD HARBOUR as it seems to be novel about past love and disappointment.

  14. I’m still reading The Constant Nymph but should finish it today. I would be happy to win any of her books but Lucy Carmichael sounds lovely and you’ve said it’s your favourite so I would choose that one.

    • Noted! Choices don’t have to be set in stone, they’re just there to make sure that the book goes to someone who really wants it rather than a casual passer-by. The winner can change their mind right up to the time they send me the address for sending their prize.

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