Barbara Comyns

Although our bookclub allows us to share favourite reads, some of us also have e-readers (wonderful way to pack massive quantities of books for travelling) and we have been lamenting the inability to share that e-readers poses to us.

So I wanted to describe 2 recent reads from Virago Modern Classics that I had loaded onto my ipad. Both are by Barbara Comyns and quite fascinating and poignant. One is called ‘Sisters by a River’ and the other (my favourite) is called ‘Our Spoons Came from Woolworths’. Barbara Comyns drew from her own life to write, her style is chatty and fast flowing, lots of phrases such as ‘we went to… and then we did’. I seem to recall being taught in school NOT to write in that very descriptive seemingly passive manner. Yet it is a fast paced, almost  breathless romp and quite deceiving as the story propels us through life in a marriage not supported by his family and  where the protagonist has to work to support her ‘genius artist husband’ (who should never have to waste his talents in menial paid work’  and slowly they fall into deep poverty. 

Well worth a read, even though it is an ebook (maybe you will be able to find this one in a second hand bookshop) Enjoy another forgotten fascinating author. Sally 



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2 responses to “Barbara Comyns

  1. Sally, is Barbara Comyns English (or perhaps Welsh with that family name)? Sounds interesting, although I seem to have more than enough reading until next session!

  2. Rachel of Potts Point Book Club

    Sal – what a coincidence – I have been trying to get hold of one by Barbara Comyns for a while. It’s based purely on me loving the title of the book, which is, “Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead”. Brilliant to hear you have enjoyed her which makes me resolve to try and locate this book. Rx

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