Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Feast by Margaret Kennedy


I randomly came across some Renaissance music.  The instruments are recorder and lute.  The piece is by Spanish composer Diego Ortiz (1510-1579).







The FeastThe Feast by Margaret Kennedy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Two Anglican Priests get together once a year to visit, play chess and otherwise enjoy each other's company. This year it is not to be. Father Bott must write a funeral oration. Father Seddon does not understand why this particular funeral should intrude upon their annual visit. Father Bott sits down with his old friend and explains the peculiarity of this funeral.

A once wealthy family owns a mansion at the foot of some cliffs, near the sea. It is 1947 and the Second World War has put many families in dire straits. The Siddal family has since had to convert their home into a guest house for tourists.

The war has also left something else: mines drifting along sea currents. One finds its way into a cave under the cliffs near the Siddal mansion. Fissures have been detected and inspected by government officials. A letter has been sent out to Mr. Siddal but no response has been received.

It has not been received because none has been sent. The warning letter was never read. Mr. Siddal is an indolent man who can't be bothered to read his mail.

No warning is ever heeded and finally the cliff comes crashing down, burying the mansion and the people in it.

Of the guests and hosts, of which there are twenty-three, some are going to be buried and some are going to survive. If you have a copy of this book with the dust cover, be sure not to read the inside flap because it obnoxiously gives the ending away.

The suspense of wondering the fate of each person is increased as the story develops and we get to know each person. Some are people one really wants to get to know and be friends with, others are odious. I read later that some of them were supposed to represent each of the seven deadly sins. After reading that it was apparent which person embodies which sin and also the others who are plagued by them.

All in all, a fairly quick page turner. Kennedy has the ability to paint compelling characters and draw the reader inside their reality. Rather like a soap opera but with complex characters that demand our sympathy.

Except for seven who inspire our revulsion.



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16 comments:

  1. Super review Sharon. You have described a plot that sounds so good and so suspenseful. I would like to read this. It is puzzling why the book synopsis on the dust cover would give so much away. One has to wonder what the synopsis writer and the person who put it together was thinking.

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    1. I agree, Brian. Some movie trailers are like that as well and it really annoys me.

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  2. wonderful syncopation... i love the sopranino recorder; i used to take mine along on field trips to entertain the troops with; and myself as well...
    certainly an original plot; it sounds like it would maintain the reader's interest pretty well...

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    1. What troops did you entertain with your recorder, Mudpuddle?

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    2. Oh wow. You were a geologist? I would love to hear about that.

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    3. not all that exciting: i worked in the oil field and for the local gas company, as much a mechanic as a geologist (i have a degree in auto mechanics, also...) the field trips for my bs. were great, tho, i learned a lot about paleo and stratigraphy; i would have stayed for an advanced degree but i had a family to support...

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    4. Actually Mudpuddle, that sounds very interesting to me.

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  3. I was hooked with your opening. I hope I can find a copy. BTW, my blog imploded and required revival at new address — https://informalinqs.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yay!!!! R.T. is back.

      The book is out of print and I don't remember where I got it. I think it was an estate sale on eBay and was included with other books that I actually wanted. So it was a happy accident that I had it to read.

      I just checked there are several copies on Amaon and eBay.

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  4. Sharon - this book sounds delightful. I am putting that on my list from the library. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Debbie. I think you would enjoy it. I'd be interested in your opinion of it.

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  5. Sounds like a fun read. I've also noticed some jacket flaps explain the end event as though it's the entire story. For example, the 'main character becomes a knight'... so you think it will be a story about a knight when in reality the person doesn't become a knight until the last chapter. Baffling! I enjoyed the Spanish music choice.

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    1. Hi Marcia. That is true. Some excerpts or blurbs can be misleading. I always try to review without giving anything away. Glad you liked the music. :)

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  6. What a fascinating premise for a novel -- I especially like ethe idea of two priest-characters. I don't know why, but I enjoy reading novels about priests, monks,etc.

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    1. HI Stephen. I know exactly what you mean. It adds something, an extra dimension or mystique, but I also enjoy reading books with religious characters like Priests.

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I welcome comments from anyone with a mutual interest in the subjects I written about.