Our Spoons Came From Woolworths

Our Spoons Came From Woolworths

Book - 2015
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"I told Helen my story and she went home and cried" begins Our Spoons Came from Woolworths. But Barbara Comyns's beguiling novel is far from maudlin, despite the ostensibly harrowing ordeals its heroine endures. Sophia is twenty-one when she marries fellow artist Charles, and she seems to have nearly as much affection for her pet newt as she does for her husband. Her housekeeping knowledge is lacking (everything she cooks tastes of soap) and she attributes her morning sickness to a bad batch of strawberries. England is in the middle of the Great Depression, and in any case, the money Sophia earns at her occasional modeling gigs are not enough to make up for her husband's lack of interest in keeping the heat on. Predictably, the marriage begins to falter; not so predictably, Sophia's optimistic guilelessness is the very thing responsible for turning her life around"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, [2015]
ISBN: 9781590178966
Branch Call Number: FICTION COMYNS
Characteristics: x, 196 p. ; 21 cm


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May 29, 2018

Like I...camping, I also highly endorse the New York Review Books. The variety of cultures, the diversity of viewpoint, and the insights into the human condition have propelled this publishing imprint to the top of my favs. The Europa imprint is another. The world may be big place with much that separates us, but understanding the human aspirations and desires underlying the differences brings us closer together.

Oct 11, 2017

I'm telling you, if you want to find good but unusual books, rich with experience unlike your own, in a time very different, in an original voice, and one you cannot stop reading, you listen to the New York Review of Books Pamela Paul podcast and do whatever they tell you. Just the best suggestions come from there, hands down. I found "The Egg and I" by Betty MacDonald through this, and "The Odd Woman in the City" by Vivian Gornick through there, as well.

And now this beautiful, sad, scary, fascinating, sweet, precious book that is, right now, the best thing I've ever read.

I couldn't stop reading the second half of the book so I don't know how my granddaughter did in gymnastics last night. A girl fell off the balance beam right in front of me and I hardly moved because I was in the English countryside as a cook at the time.

This book is why I read. And why I have empathy. And why I know what it's like to be in difficult circumstances with no good choices (well, that and having been homeless with four kids, married to an idiot who couldn't keep a job). And why I can wake up in the morning and feel like life is really, really good.

Good writing does that. Excellent, brilliant writing does that and, well, what more do you want?

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 30, 2014

Looking for something different? A simple style and absolutely unique voice illuminate this and other Comyns novels which have been reissued in recent years. This one is the tale of a hapless, "Well-bred", poverty stricken young woman going from crisis to crisis in Bohemian London of the 1930's.


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