ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Serpent's Tail Publishing, 4 Blackstock Mews, London N4 2BT, England.
CAREER: Has worked as an actor and performed a one-woman show.
Poor Kevin (novel), Serpent's Tail (London, England), 1999.
Milch Cow (novel), Serpent's Tail (London, England, 2000.
Also author of poetry and plays.
SIDELIGHTS: In her first novel, Poor Kevin, Kate Margam tells the story of young, female sex therapist Louise Chapman. Her new client in her London office, Kevin, is far from her typical patient: He is handsome, charming, and tells bizarre but nebulous anecdotes about his life. Chapman starts receiving death threats in the mail soon after taking Kevin on as a client. Although she councils the sexually dysfunctional, Chapman's own love life is far from normal as she begins an affair with a choreographer who is also a cross-dresser. In the meantime, the threatening letters continue, and Chapman ponders who they are from, with suspects ranging from Kevin himself to her new lover or one of the convicted violent sex offenders she counsels. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Jennifer Schuessler noted that "the frenzied plot … turns out to be little more than a back-alley route to the same domestic bliss [Chapman's] … flakier (and far funnier) counterpart [Bridget Jones] is chasing."
Margam's next novel, Milch Cow, focuses on a family falling apart in the middle of British suburbia after its young son dies after crashing his motorcycle into a wall. Only later does it come to light that he was a homosexual and involved in drugs. The story revolves around Sylvia, the grieving, sexless, middle-class housewife and mother whose discovery of a lump in her breast leads on to a path of self-discovery that includes an affair with her next-door neighbor. In a review for Bookreporter.com, Sarah Brennan felt that the story's "emotional depth isn't being fully plumbed." As Brennan went on to write, "while Margam's prose is generally quite deft, Milch Cow's fusion of the personal and the political doesn't quite strike that perfect balance." Noting that Margam's novel contains some overly familiar motifs, a Publishers Weekly contributor contended that, nonetheless, "the story remains compelling" and the author "convincingly engages the ensemble case in surprising activities and ably apportions cynicism and subtle redemption."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
New York Times Book Review, September 26, 1999, Jennifer Schuessler, review of Poor Kevin, p. 20.
Publishers Weekly, July 2, 2001, review of Milch Cow, p. 55.
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (March, 22, 2005), Sarah Brennan, review of Milch Cow.
Serpent's Tail Web site, http://www.serpentstail.com/ (February 16, 2005), "Kate Margam."