Emma Tennant Critical Essays


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Tennant, Emma 1937–

Tennant is a British novelist, critic, and editor. She has been involved in magazine publishing for a number of years, working on the editorial staff of such publications as Queen, Vogue, and Bananas (the literary magazine of the British Arts Council). (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 65-68.)

Perhaps [The Time of the Crack] isn't quite the short, sharp, entertaining novel we are all waiting for …, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. Short it certainly is, and rather amateurishly written …, but in a way this adds to its charm. Characterization is about on the level of The Young Visitors. Yet its merits far outweigh the minor faults.

A huge crack opens up in the bed of the Thames, separating London into two halves, leaving only the Playboy Club standing on the northern side; Lewis Carroll technique applied to H. G. Wells material….

As a comic apocalypse this novel could hardly be bettered. It is very much a London book—a knowledge of the town and its geography helps a lot—but it does manage to say a few pertinent things about the society in which we live. As a first novel, too, it has a simplicity and enthusiasm that is often missing from the output of more professional writers of fiction. (p. 661)

The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London), 1973; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), June 15, 1973.