Reviews

‘One of those rare gems that comes to the reviewer out of the blue . . . enough twists to shame a cobra . . . the story fairly rips along, defying the reader to put the book down . . . Christine Poulson should be heralded as the fine entrant to the world of crime fiction she most certainly is.’ [Stage Fright]

- WWW.CHRISHIGH.COM

Cats and writers

In Muriel Spark’s splendid novel, A Far Cry from Kensington, the narrator, Mrs Hawkins, finds herself at a dinner-party sitting next to a retired Brigadier General. She gives him advice on how to get down to writing his memoirs. Get a cat. She explains: ‘Alone with the cat in the room where you work . . . the cat will invariably get on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp . . . and the tranquillity of the cat will gradually come to affect you sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind the  self-command it has lost.’

The advice bears fruit. Three years later the Brigadier sends her a copy of his war memoirs. ‘On the cover was a picture of the Brigadier at his desk with a large alley-cat sitting inscrutably beside the lamp. He had inscribed it “To Mrs Hawkins, without whose friendly advice these memoirs would never have been written  – and thanks for introducing me to Grumpy.” The book itself was exceedingly dull. But I had advised him only that the cat helps concentration, not that the cat writes the book for you.’

Here is my own writer’s companion, sitting among the reference works.

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6 Comments

  1. tracybham
    January 25, 2017

    That beautiful cat is really stuffed in that spot. He looks like he is growing out of the wall (it is a he?). My cat just likes to sit in my lap when I am at the computer and prevents me from typing or doing much of anything. And sheds all over me.

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      January 25, 2017

      That’s Freddie. He also likes to get on my knee – and walks across the keyboard.

      Reply
  2. moira @ClothesInBooks
    January 25, 2017

    I love Mrs Hawkins, and that book, and its title. Her advice on dieting. The Box. And the scene where two of them sit on the stairs viewing a domestic next door, and one of them goes and gets chocolates…

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      January 25, 2017

      I felt sure our tastes would coincide on this one! Yes, the diet – also her advice on how to deal with insomnia, which I actually followed.

      Reply
  3. Susan D
    January 31, 2017

    Aha! Two cat pics in a row. One more and you will be indelibly branded as a Woman Who Blogs with Cats. And there’s nothing wrong with that. (But take care; you may have to start writing cosies :^0)

    When I’m writing on the couch, Martha is curled up against my hip, but she’s not allowed upstairs so I have no feline assistance in my office.

    Very nice pic. And I love the excerpt about Mrs. Hawkins and the Brigadier and Grumpy. I must add that to my TBR stack (the mental one, for now; the actual one is already dangerously teetering).

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      January 31, 2017

      I know, I know! Cosiness beckons . . . The new cats are great chums but they also like to follow me around the house and they are both asleep in my study as I write this.

      Reply

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