Our Spoons Came From Woolworths

Barbara Comyns

Sophia is a young artist who comes to  London circa 1930 to escape her crazy family, and soon she finds herself married to a fellow bohemian and pregnant with his baby. In typical Comyns style, the book shifts between extreme whimsy and extreme darkness, sometimes in the same sentence, as economic necessity and Charles’s ineptitude and indifference force Sophia into increasingly desperate situations.  Barbara Comyns has been hailed as a “neglected genius,” and here at Emily Books, we’re determined to get the “neglected” out of that description. Comyns willfully ignored genre and narrative conventions but also told stories that are impossible to turn away from, and she used the raw material of her biography to illuminate the condition of women who strove to create art at a time when society and their own biology conspired to make it near-impossible. She was also funny and strange, with a sensibility all her own. Her novels deserve a place alongside the great writers of the early 20th century.

Barbara Comyns is also the author of Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead, which is also available from Emily Books!


You may purchase this book directly from NYRB.


About the Author

Barbara Comyns


Barbara Comyns Carr started writing fiction at the age of ten and her first novel, Sisters by a River, was published in 1947. She also worked in an advertising agency, a typewriting bureau, dealt in old cars and antique furniture, and bred poodles.

“She cleared her throat once or twice, and said something about poor people should eat a lot of herrings, as they were most nutritious, also she had heard poor people eat heaps of sheeps' heads and she went on to ask if I ever cooked them. I said I would rather be dead than cook or eat a sheep's head; I'd seen them in butchers' shops with awful eyes and bits of wool sticking to their skulls. After that helpful hints for the poor were forgotten.”

Barbara Comyns, Our Spoons Came from Woolworths