Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark

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This is London 1945, when all nice people are poor. Muriel Spark sets us down among the girls of good family but slender means as they fight it out, from their Kensington hostel to the last clothing coupon until this charmingly light-hearted period in their lives descends into horror and tragedy....

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"Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions," begins The Girls of Slender Means Dame Muriel Spark's tragic and rapier-witted portrait of a London ladies' hostel just emerging from the shadow of World War II. Like the May of Teck Club itself--"three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit"--its lady inhabitants do their best to act as if the world were back to normal: practicing elocution, and jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. The novel's harrowing ending reveals that the girls' giddy literary and amorous peregrinations are hiding some tragically painful war wounds. Chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the Best Modern Novels in The London Sunday Times Review, The Girls of Slender Means is a taut and eerily perfect novel by an author The New York Times has called "One of this century's finest creators of comic-metaphysical entertainment."...

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Four brand new tales are now added to New Directions' original 1997 cloth edition of Open to the Public. This new and complete paperback edition now contains every one of her forty-one marvelous stories, catnip for all Spark fans. All the Stories of Muriel Spark spans Dame Muriel Spark's entire career to date and displays all her signature stealth, originality, beauty, elegance, wit, and shock value.No writer commands so exhilarating a style—playful and rigorous, cheerful and venomous, hilariously acute and coolly supernatural. Ranging from South Africa to the West End, her dazzling stories feature hanging judges, fortune-tellers, shy girls, psychiatrists, dress designers, pensive ghosts, imaginary chauffeurs, and persistent guests. Regarding one story ("The Portobello Road"), Stephen Schiff said in The New Yorker: "Muriel Spark has written some of the best sentences in English. For instance: 'He looked as if he would murder me, and he did.' It's a nasty piece of work, that sentence."...

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Dame Muriel Spark delivers a delightfully alarming novel, full of high society and low cunning.

One October evening five posh London couples gather for a dinner party, enjoying "the pheasant (flambé in cognac as it is)" and waiting for the imminent arrival of the late-coming guest Hilda Damien, who has been unavoidably detained due to the fact that she is being murdered at this very moment…

Symposium was applauded by Time magazine for the "sinister elegance" of Muriel Spark's "medium of light but lethal comedy." Mixed in are a Monet, a mad uncle, some unconventional nuns, and a burglary ring run by a rent-a-butler. Symposium stars a perfectly evil young woman (a classic sweet-faced hair-raising Sparkian horror) who has married rich Hilda's son by hook or by crook, hooking him at the fruit counter of Harrod's. There is also spiritual conversation—and the Bordeaux is superb. "The prevailing mood is urbane: the wine is poured, the talk continues, and all the time the ice on which the protagonists' world rests is being thinned from beneath, by boiling emotions and ugly motives….No living writer handles the tension between formality of expression and subversiveness of thought more elegantly." (The Independent on Sunday)....

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At 16, Mary Wollstonecraft shocked England when she ran away with her married lover, the tempestuous, brilliant poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. then, at 20, she secured her place in history by writing "Frankenstein", now acknowledged as one of the great literary classics of all time. This biography recounts the life and loves of this legendary woman, from her youth as the daughter of a philosopher and a pioneering feminist, through her passionate, turbulent marriage, and her career as a writer and editor. ...






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