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Our Spoons Came from Woolworths Hardcover – Large Print, Jan 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chivers Large print (Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & C; Large type edition edition (Jan. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754046907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754046905
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,958,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

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

*for fans of Stevie Smith

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By kate bradbury on 21 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
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 By Dr. Kenneth W. Douglas on 22 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By R. Vowles on 8 July 2013
Format: Paperback
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 By Alun Williams VINE VOICE on 28 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
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 By CR on 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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By Tasha on 25 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This really was not my cup of tea.
I found it very difficult to read as I wasn't sure what style the writer was going in. In the end I told myself to read it as if it were a diary do that i could forgive the writers writing style. The storyline I found to be very boring and I didn't fall in love with any of the characters and by the end of it thought the leading lady deserved everything she got. It may be you sort if book and you'll think "what was she talking about?" But I had to force myself to finish it and even though it's really short it felt like I was reading War and Peace.
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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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