I want to say thank you to everyone who played a part in this celebration of the lovely legacy of books that Margaret Kennedy left to the world.
Circumstances meant that the announcement was low-key and I’m sorry that this thank you is rather late; but I do really appreciate everyone who found a book to read, and everyone who spread the word.
I found some summer flowers for you all.
We covered a interesting range of titles, from four different decades, and we had some quite different – and very interesting – thoughts.
* * * * * * *
The Constant Nymph (1924)
Madame Bibi Lophile said:
“The novel is also not wholly a romance, but also a consideration of art and how to create it, how to pursue it, the value we attach to it and the various ways in which it is consumed. This is done with a lightness of touch and Kennedy never lets the broader themes get in the way of the plot.”
“It’s a clash of worlds as much as a clash of personalities: natural versus artifice; conformity versus rebellion; order versus disorder; outsiders versus those who belong… Lewis, Tessa, Tony, Lina and Sebastian are wild, anarchic, passionate creatures who know no rules and trail chaos in their wake. Set against them is the conventional, well ordered society created by Florence and her friends, where appearance is everything, and talking about feelings is more important than the feelings themselves.”
“I could not help but have the feeling that there was a stronger story that had been left behind, waiting to be told. Either you tried to tame the circus and lost; or the circus has come close to enchanting you, and you run away from its wild exuberance.”
Together and Apart (1936)
“Reading Together and Apart reminded me that one of M.K.’s greatest strengths, in my view, is how she draws her characters. From the very first page, when Betsy tells her mother in a letter that she is planning to divorce Alec, we have a strong sense of who she is, and M.K. stays true to this for the rest of the book. Whether we like them or not, or think they’re sympathetic or worthy or not, they definitely come to life.”
Madame Bibi Lophile said:
“I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say everything works out in the end. Which is not to say things work out perfectly. Lives are messy and Together and Apart shows how much of that mess is of our own making, but how we are myopic regarding our own situations and so clear-sighted regarding others. Once again, there are piercing, but sympathetic psychological insights.”
Lucy Carmichael (1951)
“The writing is great, there is wit and thoughtfulness; Kennedy is clearly trying to inherit the mantle of Jane Austen (and there are many references to Austen throughout; Melissa and Lucy are both aficionados) and that’s an admirable intention, even if it highlights the disparity between their achievements are ‘structurers’. There is a lot to love here, and I did love the final chapter so much that I almost forgave everything else”
“Margaret Kennedy shows a lot of understanding and sympathy for Lucy’s situation; being jilted at the altar is, thankfully, not something I have experienced myself but if it did happen I hope that I would have the strength to react the way Lucy does, with dignity and resilience, rather than allowing her heartbreak and humiliation to destroy the rest of her life.”
“I really enjoy this aspect of Kennedy’s novels–how she creates character. Even seemingly unimportant characters are built in with a solid foundation and story. This gives the impression that you are entering a real world–warts and all–and a social environment that, while not one I have actually experienced, is still believable as though I know these types of situations and the personalities that give them life.”
The Oracles (1955)
“Margaret Kennedy’s twelfth novel is dark and clever. It is set in a small town close to the Bristol Channel, not long after the war; and it spins around the family of a Bohemian artist, a more conventional young married couple with a new baby, a number of their friends and neighbours, and its catalyst is a remarkable work of art.”
The Forgotten Smile (1961)
“The Forgotten Smile is a later Margaret Kennedy novel – one offering the reader a wonderful escape to another world. The majority of the novel takes place on Keritha, a tiny Greek Island, largely forgotten by the rest of the world. A place of Pagan mysticism and legend, where the cruise ships don’t stop and aren’t really welcome. It’s a place out of step with the modern world and is perfect for an escape.”
* * * * * * *
I think that’s everyone, but if it isn’t please let me know so that I can put things right.
I’m looking forward to seeing who reads what next.
I should tell you that this was the last day of celebration of this kind. But it isn’t the last celebration, because I have something a little different in mind for next year ….
* * * * * * *
6 thoughts on “A Thank You Letter after Margaret Kennedy Day”
Whatever you have planned, I’m in! Thank you, Jane!!
Thank you for organising the day. Am now reading The Ladies of Lyndon and enjoying it very much – no ‘mixed feelings’ with this one!
I am so glad I managed to join in. Thank you for hosting this again.
Thank you for hosting this again – it’s good to see that so many people took part. Now I’m curious about what you have in mind for next year!
Thanks for organising Jane, and for putting all the links here so I can catch up on those I missed. I’m intrigued as to the plan for next year!
Comments are closed.