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Sisters by a River [Paperback]

Barbara Comyns

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Book Description

Dec 27 1987 VMC (Book 314)
Mammy had her excape in her imaginary lovers, we children did not have much excape in the winter, but when the summer came there was the sun and river, some mornings I would get up at five and row up the river before anyone else had been on it, and the larks would be singing and the cows standing together in the little bays where the water was shallow, and everything would seem so good and clean, I felt I wanted to cry with so much hapiness'

The first of Barbara Comyns's eight novels, SISTERS BY A RIVER is told through the eyes (and spelling) of a young girl. Vivid, funny and quite unique, it evokes the author's own extraordinary childhood.

Some of the whimsical chapters: The Roly Poly Field, God in the Billiard Room, The Maids' Lav, It Wasn't Nice in the Dressing Room, As If She Had No Ears at All, The Field that Was Stiff with Skeletons, Gather Your Hats While You May, Aunts Arriving.

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All of her books read as if she wrote them effortlessly—URSULA HOLDEN

The characters seem to exist in a perpetual Mad Hatter's tea-party—KATE SAUNDERS

An off-beat humour—GRAHAM GREENE

About the Author

Barbara Comyns was born in Warwickshire in 1909. She worked in advertising, dealt in old cars and antiques, bred poodles, and developed property. She and her second husband lived in Spain for eighteen years. Comyns died in 1992.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'humor and horror juxtaposed' Dec 19 2011
By sally tarbox - Published on
Lovely book that can only be described as the literary equivalent of naive art! Comyns recounts episodes from her childhood, brought up in a genteel if debt-laden family. It put me in mind of Nancy Mitford's account of her own family. Irascible Daddy, vague, deaf Mammy and six children who for want of outside company spend much time together.
Comyns writes in a unique childlike style with eccentric spelling and an antipathy for semicolons, so that phrases run into each other.
Mammy had always looked and been rather vague, she had a kind of gypsoflia mind, all little bits and pieces held together by whisps' (sic)

Far from being a sentimental account, Comyns recalls the horrific alongside the magical- villagers are drowned in the flood, Daddy has violent tempers, animals get ill-treated- yet with a childlike acceptance.
I LOVE Comyns' work!
5.0 out of 5 stars Original dark and funny June 3 2014
By Sally Cruikshank - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love all Barbara Comyns' novels and was delighted to find this one was back in print because I'd never read it before. She's a very original writer, funny and scary descriptions of family life in a 16th century house by a river.

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