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Our Spoons Came From Woolworths: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC Book 105)

Our Spoons Came From Woolworths: A Virago Modern Classic (VMC Book 105) [Kindle Edition]

Barbara Comyns , Maggie O'Farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Product Description


The characters seem to exist in a perpetual Mad Hatter's tea-party (KATE SAUNDERS)

This is a marvellous writer (GRAHAM GREENE)

All of her books read as if she wrote them effortlessly (URSULA HOLDEN)

Book Description

*a quirky tale of girl made good in the bohemian north London of the thirties

*for fans of Stevie Smith

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 352 KB
  • Print Length: 209 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1844089274
  • Publisher: Virago (4 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 21 Feb 2003
I have read this book a number of times since I was a teenager and just reread it in one delightful sitting yesterday. Comyns has a fantastic voice, and its hard to believe that the book isn't biographical. Set in Bohemian London in the Thirties, Sophia is a young woman married to artist Charles. The book sees her through poverty, pregnancy, and infedility though at all times is touching, humourous and historically interesting. One of the things I've always liked best about this book is the fact that is unchallenging and easy to read but is a genuinely excellent piece of English literature. I have read little of her other works, but what I have read I've also deeply enjoyed.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An offbeat masterpiece 22 Feb 2004
If you're unfamiliar with Barbara Comyns' unique style, then this would be a good place to start. It is the (apparently semi-autobiographical) tale of the breakdown of an ill-starred marriage; and though the usual features of Comyns' novels are all here (a loveable, childlike first-person narrator; occasional touches of the macabre; a strange sense of things taking place at a certain slant to everyday reality), the book also has the intensity of personal experience. In place of the usual disclaimer about characters and events being purely fictitious, any resemblances being purely coincidental, etc., Comyns places a disarming little superscription: "The only things that are true in this story are the wedding and Chapters 10, 11 and 12 and the poverty."
Sophia, at the age of twenty-one, elopes with penniless young artist Charles to live the Bohemian life in London. She is an innocent abroad, who carries pet newt Great Warty about in her pocket and is ill-prepared for the real hardships of poverty and motherhood. An affair with an elderly art critic just makes the situation worse, and Sophia has to undergo a harrowing personal tragedy before ultimately finding unexpected happiness at the end of the book.
The seamless juxtapposition of the tragic and the macabre with lovingly drawn scenes from everyday life is completely typical of Comyns' writing, but reaches a new intensity in this novel, which as a result is extremely and unexpectedly moving. Comyns was a real Great British Eccentric, and coming across her work for the first time is an utter delight for the reader. If you haven't encountered her before, then do buy this book: I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Classic....Very Moving. 8 July 2013
This starts off as a light hearted comic story about a rather eccentric bohemian couple marrying against the advice of their families, but swiftly becomes a poignant story of survival during the lean years of the early 1930's. Sophia's husband treats her with an offhand selfishness and cruelty which sadly rings true throughout. Each new degradation, caused largely by his refusal to 'lower' himself by seeking actual work, is recounted with the same matter of fact style that is used throughout the novel. You cannot help but empathise with Sophia, or to be grateful that this story really does have a happy ending. I'll be looking out more by Barbara Comyns after this experience.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Whimsy 28 Feb 2009
By Alun Williams VINE VOICE
When the green Virago Modern Classics first came out I used to buy one regularly - frequently judging them by the picture on the cover. Many struck me as being dull and worthy. This little novel is one of the few of them that I have kept and re-read several times. It is an excellent book to cheer oneself up with: Sophia, the young mother who tells us part of her life story, (mostly set in 1930s Bohemian London), is an endearing, childlike, and rather foolish heroine with a fondness for newts. Her impulsive nature leads first to an unfortunate marriage with an impoverished painter, and later on to an affair with an ageing art critic. Poverty and pregnancies lead to disaster, but finally there is a very happy ending.

Although the book is rather light on the whole, there are sad parts too, and several vivid description of hospitals which make one very glad that medical science has moved on.

The prose style is very unusual - Sophia writes like quite a young child throughout, but all the same other characters emerge clearly through what they say for themselves.

This is perhaps not a great or an important novel, but many readers will cherish it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 2 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is poignant but quirky and funny at the same time. An interesting 'old fashioned' read. Would recommend this book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Unusual book, worth trying. 26 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me. It's completely different from anything else you've read. Good story and it was OK but I don't think it gripped me the way it gripped my friend. One of its features is the way everything is handled the same- high drama and mundane details all in the same tone (this is specifically mentioned in the foreward and notes) I'm not sure I was keen on that.
Odd little book but I quite liked it. Worth a punt.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deserved classic 30 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved re-reading again after many years - Comyns conjures a rackety, bohemian life with humour and compassion, and moves you both to tears and laughter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read 25 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Could not put this book down which is unusual for me usually takes me a month to read one. Will certainly look out for this author
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read made my not want to put it down
My wife loved this book and would read another by this author. Was exciting and very funny. I would really recommend this book.
Published 8 months ago by peter
5.0 out of 5 stars a unique authorial voice
Barbara Comyns is a new writer to me but I intend to seek out more of her work. If anyone doubts the value of the Welfare State, the Abortion Act, and the Sexual Discrimination... Read more
Published 9 months ago by J. A. Dean
1.0 out of 5 stars Weak annoying character
Only a short book just got worse. Really hated the weak rather pathetic characters. No substance or real story....very disappointed. Read more
Published 9 months ago by max curtis
4.0 out of 5 stars On time and good condition
OK, but style a bit perfunctory. Bought it for my wife's book club - she won't be reading any more from this author.
Published 11 months ago by RodgerTL
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Was devastated when I came to the end if the book, will definately try and read more from Barbara Comyns. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Robert Preece
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book by Babara Comyns
This book is well written and a most enjoyable read - would make a really good present for a friend..
Published 12 months ago by Good living
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not brilliant
Book club choice so no choice. Liked style hugely but never really felt engaged with it as a story. Perhaps because it's a one character novel or because I hated the twee ending or... Read more
Published 13 months ago by hellomiche
4.0 out of 5 stars Our spoons came from woolworths
Lovely story had me gripped from the off . very engaging heroin although she doesn't always choose the right path you still feel empathy for her. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Nikki b
5.0 out of 5 stars Surpassed all expectations, I am left wanting to obtain more of this...
A brilliant story , the first book I have started and had finish it in almost one sitting !! Do download it you will be transported to a previous life of unbelievable hardship yet... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ermintrude
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