Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Kinflicks (Alther) 457

I was intrigued by Kinflicks when it arrived from an ebay purchase last year, because the cover is so unusual and unlike any other Virago books. Somehow it didn't entice me - either that or the fact that the book is 576 p. long. But I did enjoy it when I got to it!

Like many books, it combines life in the present with a review of life in the past. The main character Ginny Babcock is at the bedside of her dying mother, and in the third person, we are told about Mrs Babcock and Ginny's time with her. These chapters are interspersed with memories from Ginnie's childhood, or "kinflicks":

"Her mother had always been addcted to home movie-making and had choreographed the upbringing of Ginny and her brothers through the eyepiece of a camera, eternally poised to capture on celluloid those golden moments - the first smile, the first step, the first tooth in, the first tooth out, the first day of school, the first dance, year after tedious year. Mother's Kinflicks, Ginny and her brothers had called them"

It's an entertaining story - Ginny starts off dating a school jock, nearly runs off to get married to him, but both stand each other up (and only discover this years later), falls in love with a motorcycle thug, has a lesbian affair whilst at college, and then gets married to a boring insurance salesman. She has a baby, but motherhood isn't enough, an affair follows....

Just published once by Virago (and it does have a green spine as you can see here.) I'm intrigued to see whether the cover of Alther's other VMC is also so unusual.


  1. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this one. I found a copy tucked away in my local indie shop. It looked like it'd been there for years. Like you I wasn't sure about it either but figured I'd pick it up to read one day. The cover is so different from the other VMCs.

  2. Good grief - I was quite shocked when this picture together with "Verity's Virago Venture" appeared on my dashboard - I almost could not credit it. Anyway - I am pleased that you enjoyed it!


  3. Leaning - it is very different from other VMCs but well worth a read.

    Hannah - I had the same thoughts when it popped through my letterbox!