Author Topic: Muriel Spark  (Read 961 times)

Muriel Spark
« on: June 21, 2018, 02:07:56 PM »
Thoughts, verbwhores? I recently bought The Ballad of Peckham Rye and noticed it's part of a reprint of her back list.



They're numbered too which means that dickheads like me might well try and get them all so just wondered if there were any considered better than others. Just started TBoPR and really enjoying, kind of reminds me of Patrick Hamilton so far.

Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2018, 02:41:03 PM »
Pretty sure that The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is seen as her stand-out classic,  but it's a book I've never got round to despite loving the film of it (The 60's version starring Maggie Smith). The film is like a vastly more intelligent version of Dead Poets Society where the charismatic teacher is both more attractive and more dangerous, actually a fascist.

manticore

  • 'nut with really wacky opinions'
Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2018, 04:53:38 PM »
She's a cold but such an incredibly clever writer. I don't know if I've read a more crafty and cunningly contrived novel than 'The Driver's Seat' or 'The Hothouse by the East River' for example.

There was a documentary about her on BBC4 yesterday, I want to watch it for the interview footage, there's so little of it available and I tend to imagine her as an unlikeable person, a lepidopterist like Nabokov.

Cuellar

  • Push off my wire
Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2018, 05:08:11 PM »
I've literally just finished The Comforters! Interesting conceit, and some great writing in parts, but felt a bit fragmented. Possibly part of the point. Things not being developed fully and running out of steam.

Quite interested in others now. Might try Symposium.

Lost Oliver

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Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2018, 11:33:38 AM »
Someone said that I reminded them of the main guy from The Ballad of Peckham Rye. I'm assuming that's a bad thing?

Thanks for the thread - been meaning to read it so will buy a copy. Now.

Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2018, 11:56:58 PM »
My mum's a big fan and her books have been my go-to mother's day books for years. I remember she especially like Memento Mori and The Comforters.

Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2018, 11:58:24 PM »
Someone said that I reminded them of the main guy from The Ballad of Peckham Rye. I'm assuming that's a bad thing?

Heh my best friend has also been compared. Are you a disruptive force in work-a-day society?

Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2018, 06:00:58 PM »
I am meaning to read 'The Ballad of Peckham Rye' sometime in the near future, thanks for reminding me.

The only one of hers I've read so far is 'The Driver's Seat' which is worth a try, it's an interesting enigmatic and quite compact story.

gilbertharding

  • Not even the rudest man in the Beatles
Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2018, 02:57:41 PM »
What's the deal with The Driver's Seat? It's written so the end is inevitable... but does the protagonist know the end? I guess not.

I read the reviews on Amazon... not hugely helpful.

Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2018, 06:50:11 PM »
It's quite difficult to describe it without going into specifics, but basically the ending is foreshadowed several times in the narrative without making it clear how it's going to get to that, and what happens to cause it, and that keeps the reader guessing, or at least is likely designed to.

manticore

  • 'nut with really wacky opinions'
Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2018, 08:15:24 PM »
That novel is a crystalline beautiful ice construction, like most of her books really. Engaging on a a purely intellectual level, the manifestation of a forensic spirit.

tookish

  • Fool of a Took
Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2018, 10:03:24 AM »
That novel is a crystalline beautiful ice construction, like most of her books really. Engaging on a a purely intellectual level, the manifestation of a forensic spirit.

Perfect description of Muriel Spark's writing. Everything clinical and pared-back. It's beautiful writing, but hard and sharp as flint, makes for difficult reading sometimes.

Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2018, 10:16:39 AM »
I'm reading The Hothouse by the East River (it's slim but I only read when I go to bed and usually fall asleep five pages in).

I really don't know if I like it or not. It's quite funny in places and I like the way that there is no explanation of what is going on.

manticore

  • 'nut with really wacky opinions'
Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2018, 04:51:34 PM »
I'm reading The Hothouse by the East River (it's slim but I only read when I go to bed and usually fall asleep five pages in).

I really don't know if I like it or not. It's quite funny in places and I like the way that there is no explanation of what is going on.

Patience! All will be revealed. The ending is quite chilling and might make you want to read the whole thing again. It's a metaphysical novel really and makes you feel reality shift under your feet.

Re: Muriel Spark
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2018, 12:06:53 PM »
Yeah that was great and very unsettling. Not sure i quite understood what was happening though!

Driver's Seat next.