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“The Feast” by Margaret Kennedy: It’s seven…seven days…seven stories.  A down-to-earth tragic-comedy, delightful English feast

“The Feast” by Margaret Kennedy: It’s seven…seven days…seven stories. A down-to-earth tragic-comedy, delightful English feast

“Le festin” by Margaret Kennedy is published by Quai Voltaire Editions.

"feast" Published by Quai Voltaire Editions by Margaret Kennedy.

©

Atlantean-Culture

Margaret Kennedy’s book “Le festin” is published by Quai Voltaire.

“Party”

By Margaret Kennedy

Editions Quai Voltaire, published on March 3, 2022.

Translated from the English by Denis von Moppes

467 pages, 24 Euros

Our recommendation: Excellent

theme

September 1947 Reverend Seddon meets his friend Reverend Pat of St. Soddy in Cornwall. He can’t spare time to play chess because he has to write obituaries for the missing of the cliff.

Summer 1947: Bendysack’s hotel/manor is swallowed by a cliff collapse, leading to the deaths of seven residents.

Who is destroyed? Who survived?The mansion was converted into a hotel by the penniless Sithal family (mother, father and three sons).It sees holidaymakers of all kinds living together.

There is Lady Gifford, a self-interested aristocrat, with her husband and four children; Mrs. Gove, a greedy widow and her three helpless but mischievous daughters; a Catenarus canon and his timid, obedient daughter; A struggling and lost couple; A bohemian writer with his young driver/secretary has no great morals.

But a maddened and scandalous steward; A young Nancibel chambermaid, bright and generous…

We know the drama to come from the beginning. The author guides you through the week before the accident. Easy to follow despite the number, we discover all these characters, children and adults, eccentric, flawed, and charming.

Seven days…. Seven stories… I won’t say more because it would be a shame to reveal this whole story.

Strong points

Throughout these seven days, we follow the physical and mental development of the characters through diaries, witty conversations or monologues: a beautiful study of characters.

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Some characters represent the seven deadly sins, others the seven virtues. A treasure hunt of sorts to identify them!

A critical analysis of life in post-war England: ration tickets, class relations, deprivations, disappointments…

A few reservations

No. Happy reading.

Another word…

Under an apparently light-hearted aspect, this novel is simultaneously poignant and tender. The Hôtel de Pendizack is like an open-air theater. The prologue allows us to position ourselves well in the book without revealing the entire plot.

Loveable characters, others with intolerable flaws but so well described that we live with them! In seven days, we see each other’s transformation, joy built. From the beginning, we know what happened, but we eagerly follow the preparation of this feast by the Cove sisters; Suspense is skillfully maintained: who will disappear? And what can the survivors say to Reverend Pat?

With exquisite humor, Margaret Kennedy tells us a story that is more violent than it seems. And when we finally get to this treat: what a British treat! Even the cover of the book is delicious.

A sentence

The tops of these rocks were covered with a great number of brush, brambles, and thistles, which encroached upon the old toll-roads, and made the place unfit for walking. He discovered strange cracks and fissures in the ground. » p.228

“Everyone was singing. Everyone screamed.They made so much noise that, for a few seconds, they did not notice another noise that gradually grew louder, crushing all the others with a terrible and deafening roar that threw them blind and terrified to the ground. » p.464

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Author of the book

Margaret Kennedy (1896–1967) was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and screenwriter. He has been the author of numerous publications since the 1920s. One of them, Tessa, a faithful-hearted nymph, was transferred to the cinema in 1933 and to the theater in 1934.

Forgotten, Le Festin, published in March 2022 with a revised translation, gives new life to this delightful and delicious novel.