The Feast (1950): Margaret Kennedy


It’s the summer of 1947 and a small community has been shaken to its core (literally). Pendizack Manor Hotel has just been obliterated in a landslide, buried beneath the cliffs that once loomed over it. Reverend Bott, who has the unenviable task of writing a funeral sermon for the unrecovered victims, thinks back over what he has heard from the survivors. Through their stories, we revisit the week leading up to the disaster, day by day, watching as the various characters arrive and get to know one another. To some extent, this is the same kind of awkward cheek-by-jowl holiday community of strangers that we see in works such as The Fortnight in September (though that puts a much more positive spin on the experience). Romances blossom; old grudges linger; and plots are hatched, both malicious and benign. But this isn’t just the story of a Cornish summer holiday gone horribly wrong. Kennedy is, in fact, doing something much cleverer and more sophisticated – offering us the chance to solve a very unusual kind of mystery.

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