Reasons to Read Muriel Spark

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For one thing, you're probably tired of hearing about her and until I raise a great tide of readership, I shall simply have to continue to regale you with excerpts of her fine works. But for another, there's this:

from A Far Cry from Kensington
Muriel Spark

I had some savings and a small pension, so I had no need to find another job immediately. In the months between my abrupt departure from the Ullswater Press and Martin York's arrest I wasted my time with a sense of justified guilt. I enjoy a puritanical and moralistic nature; it is my happy element to judge between right and wrong, regardless of what I might actually do. At the same time, the wreaking of vengeance and imposing of justice on others and myself are not at all in my line. It is enough for me to discriminate mentally and leave the rest to God.

'Commercial life cannot be carried on unless people are honest.'But no life can be carried on satisfactorily unless people are honest. About the time that the Ullswater Press folded up I recall reading a book about one of the martyred Elizabethan recusant priests. The author wrote, 'He was accused of lying, stealing, and even immorality.' I noted the quaint statement because although by immorality he meant sex as many people do, I had always thought that lying and stealing, no less, constituted immorality.

I think this character would have looked upon TSO's blog (at very least the title) with some great approval.

What is interesting here is that Spark has done something unusual for her works. The book is narrated in first person by a (so far) very likable narrator. This does not allow her the enormous distance she tends to keep from her characters. Nevertheless, this main character is cool, ironic, and sardonic--looking upon things as from a distance. She is among the more engaging characters in the opera so far.

I'll let you know how she gets on as the story continues. At very least expect a review within a week or so.

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I came very close to buying "Momento Mori" then other day. I'll have to revisit Sparks based on your recommendation.

I mean Spark, not Sparks.

Dear TSO,

I haven't covered Memento Mori in this series because I read it some time ago and I have to say that it lingers in memory as Spark at her mordant and "distant" best. Memento Mori ranks in the top of Spark's oeuvre for me. Although I must say A Far Cry from Kensington is rapidly joining that upper echelon.





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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 31, 2006 8:59 AM.

More on Burgess was the previous entry in this blog.

Spark and Radionics--Morality and Neutrality is the next entry in this blog.

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