The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

      Muriel Spark
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Muriel Spark’s timeless classic about a controversial teacher who deeply marks the lives of a select group of students in the years leading up to World War II

“Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life!” So asserts Jean Brodie, a magnetic, dubious, and sometimes comic teacher at the conservative Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh. Brodie selects six favorite pupils to mold—and she doesn’t stop with just their intellectual lives. She has a plan for them all, including how they will live, whom they will love, and what sacrifices they will make to uphold her ideals. When the girls reach adulthood and begin to find their own destinies, Jean Brodie’s indelible imprint is a gift to some, and a curse to others.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is Spark’s masterpiece, a novel that offers one of twentieth-century English literature’s most iconic and complex characters—a woman at once admirable and sinister, benevolent and conniving.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Muriel Spark including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s archive at the National Library of Scotland.


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    The Finishing School

      Muriel Spark
The Finishing School

From Muriel Spark, the grande dame of literary satire, comes this swift, deliciously witty tale of writerly ambition that recalls her beloved The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.College Sunrise is a somewhat louche and vaguely disreputable finishing school located, for now, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Rowland Mahler and his wife, Nina, run the school as a way to support themselves while he works, somewhat falteringly, on his novel. Into Rowland’s creative writing class comes seventeen-year-old Chris Wiley, a red-haired literary prodigy whose historical novel-in-progress, on Mary Queen of Scots, has already excited the interest of publishers. The inevitable result: keen envy, and a game of cat and mouse fraught with jealousy and attraction, both literary and sexual.

From the Trade Paperback edition.


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    The Comforters

      Muriel Spark
The Comforters

Caroline Rose is plagued by the tapping of typewriter keys and the strange, detached narration of her every thought and action. Caroline has an unusual problem - she realises she is in a novel. Her fellow characters also seem deluded: Laurence, her former lover, finds diamonds in a loaf of bread - has his elderly grandmother hidden them there? And Baron Stock, her bookseller friend, believes he is on the trail of England's leading Satanist.


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    The Hothouse by the East River

      Muriel Spark
The Hothouse by the East River

He is standing in the middle of the room. She is sitting by the window, staring out over the East River. The late sunlight from the opposite window touches her shoulders and hair, it casts the shadow of palm leaves across the carpet, over her arm. The chair she sits in casts a shadow before her.

There is another shadow, hers. It falls behind her.

Behind her, and cast by what light? She is casting a shadow in the wrong direction. There's no light shining upon her from the east window, it comes from the west window. What is she looking at?

A round trip from present-day life in New York to war-time Intelligence work in England in 1944 and back again.


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    The Takeover

      Muriel Spark
The Takeover

When an heiress moves to a villa on Italy’s Lake Nemi, a houseguest plots to take it—and more—in this novel by a prizewinning master of dark comedy.

When American heiress Maggie Radcliffe relocates to enchanting Lake Nemi, just south of Rome, she is determined to live in tune with ancient pagan rhythms of art and nature. At her new home—one of three that she owns—she is constantly surrounded by a cast of quirky characters, and her latest guest is old friend Hubert Mallindaine, an unrepentant grifter who claims to be a direct descendant of the goddess Diana, whose spirit is said to rest at Nemi.

As soon as Mallindaine arrives, Radcliffe’s vast material wealth begins to slip quietly out the door. Desperate to regain it, Radcliffe attempts to evict Mallindaine from her home, but a host of new problems threaten to destroy all that she has.

From the PEN Award–winning author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Driver’s Seat, and other modern classics, The Takeover is a suspenseful, acidic comedy about the clash between the conventions of old wealth and the inevitable tide of modernity. It is a testament to the mind and work of “the most sharply original fictional imagination of our time” (Sunday Times).

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Muriel Spark including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s archive at the National Library of Scotland.


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    Memento Mori

      Muriel Spark
Memento Mori

In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, "Remember you must die." Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off. Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed. As spooky as it is witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.


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    The Abbess of Crewe: A Modern Morality Tale

      Muriel Spark
The Abbess of Crewe: A Modern Morality Tale

“The short dirk in the hands of Muriel Spark has always been a deadly weapon,” said The New York Times, and “never more so than in The Abbess of Crewe.” An elegant little fable about intrigue, corruption, and electronic surveillance, The Abbess of Crewe is set in an English Benedictine convent. Steely and silky Abbess Alexandra (whose aristocratic tastes run to pâté, fine wine, English poetry, and carpets of “amorous green”) has bugged the convent, and rigged her election. But the cat gets out of the bag, and—plunged into scandal—the serene Abbess faces a Vatican inquiry.


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    Reality and Dreams

      Muriel Spark
Reality and Dreams

Tom Richards has fallen off a crane while directing his latest movie, 'The Hamburger Girl', fracturing some ribs and a hip. A comic procession of doctors, nurses, and relatives files through his hospital room. Another director replaces him at the studio, and everything in his cinematic dream is being changed - the screenplay, the title, the plot. Tom is baffled and furious. His children's marriages are coming apart, and who can be certain of his own? People everywhere are losing their jobs. His real life and his creative life become ever more displaced while he gradually recovers his health, his balance, and his natural imbalance. Tom's shrewd wife, Claire; their daughter Marigold, for whom Tom has ambivalent feelings; his beautiful daughter Cora, by his first marriage; and his lovers, family, friends, and colleagues all find themselves revolving in a sexual and economic maelstrom that gradually results in violence. "What we are doing, " Tom tells his film crew at last, "is real and not real. We are living in a world where dreams are reality and reality is dreams. In our world everything starts from a dream."


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    Not to Disturb

      Muriel Spark
Not to Disturb

A storm rages round the towers of the big house near Geneva. Behind the locked doors of the library, the Baron, the Baroness and their handsome young secretary are not to be disturbed. In the attic, the Baron's lunatic brother howls and hurls plates at his keeper.

But in the staff quarters, all is under control. Under the personal supervision of Lister, the Baron's incomparable butler, the servants make their own, highly lucrative preparations for the tragedy.

The night is long, but morning will bring a crime passionnel of outstanding attraction and endless possibilities.

Muriel Spark has created a world in her own idiom - bizarre, gruesome and brilliantly funny.


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    Territorial Rights

      Muriel Spark
Territorial Rights

Robert wants nothing more than to become a serious art historian. But his hopes for a staid academic life are put on hold when he’s driven from London to Venice to escape one lover and seek out another: the enigmatic Bulgarian refugee Lina Pancev. In Venice, Robert encounters a grand carnival of lust, lies, blackmail, cocktail parties, and regicide. As he chases Lina, his heart’s desire, the city itself provides a priceless education in love, art, and beauty. 

Witty yet elegant, Territorial Rights is a celebration of human imperfection and complexity, with as many shifting identities, wardrobe changes, and sumptuous settings as a comic opera.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Muriel Spark including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s archive at the National Library of Scotland.


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    The Golden Fleece: Essays

      Muriel Spark
The Golden Fleece: Essays

The essays, reviews, memoirs and other writings collected here for the first time conjure up one of the great critical imaginations of our time. Grouped into four sections (Art and Poetry; Autobiography and Travel; Literature; and Religion, Politics and Philosophy), they demonstrate the wide range of Muriel SparkOCOs knowledge and interests, and throw into relief the people, places and ideas that inspired her throughout her life as a working writer. The book includes perceptive essays on literary figures including the Bront1/2s, Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot and Robert Louis Stevenson; engaging accounts of visits to John Masefield, Edith Sitwell, and Louis MacNeiceOCOs home (in the absence of its owner); and reflections on the sermons of Cardinal Newman and the Old Testament book of Job as perennially rich sources of spiritual nourishment. The novelistOCOs eye for the telling detail is evident in portraits of the cities ? Venice, Rome, Ravenna, Istanbul ? which Muriel Spark visited or in which she made her home. As Penelope Jardine puts it in her preface, this book ?tells many thingsOCO.T"


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    Loitering With Intent

      Muriel Spark
Loitering With Intent

""How wonderful to be an artist and a women in the twentieth-century," Fleur Talbot rejoices. Loitering about London, c. 1949, with intent to gather material for her writing, Fleur finds a job "on the grubby edge of the literary world," as secretary to the odd Autobiographical Association. Mad eogmanics, hilariously writing their memoirs in advance - or poor fools ensnared by a blackmailer? Rich material, in any case." "But when its pompous director, Sir Quentin, steals the manuscript of Fleur's new novel, fiction begins to appropriate life. The association's members begin to act out scenes exactly as Fleur herself and already written them in her missing manuscript. And as they meet darkly funny, pre-visioned fates, where does art start or reality end?"--BOOK JACKET.


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    The Ballad of Peckham Rye

      Muriel Spark
The Ballad of Peckham Rye

The Ballad of Peckham Rye is the wickedly farcical fable of a blue-collar town turned upside down. When the firm of Meadows, Meade & Grindley hires Dougal Douglas (a.k.a. Douglas Dougal) to do "human research" into the private lives of its workforce, they are in no way prepared for the mayhem, mutiny, and murder he will stir up. "Not only funny but startlingly original," declared The Washington Post, "the legendary character of Dougal Douglas...may not have been boasting when he referred so blithely to his association with the devil." In fact this Music Man of the thoroughly modern corporation changes the lives of all the eccentric characters he meets, from Miss Merle Coverdale, head of the typing pool, to V.R. Druce, unsuspecting Managing Director.


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    A Far Cry From Kensington

      Muriel Spark
A Far Cry From Kensington

Set on the crazier fringes of 1950s literary London, A Far Cry from Kensington is a delight, hilariously portraying love, fraud, death, evil, and transformation. Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of A Far Cry from Kensington, takes us well in hand and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fat and much admired young war widow, she spent her days working for a mad, near-bankrupt publisher ("of very good books") and her nights dispensing advice at her small South Kensington rooming house. At work and at home Mrs. Hawkins soon uncovered evil: shady literary doings and a deadly enemy; anonymous letters, blackmail, and suicide. With aplomb, however, Mrs. Hawkins confidently set about putting things to order, little imagining the mayhem that would ensue. Now decades older, thin, successful, and delighted with life in Italy--quite a far cry from Kensington--Mrs. Hawkins looks back to all those dark doings and recounts how her own life changed forever. She still, however, loves to give advice: "It's easy to get thin. You eat and drink the same as always, only half...I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book."


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    Doctors of Philosophy: A Play

      Muriel Spark
Doctors of Philosophy: A Play

**The only play by famed Scottish author Muriel Spark takes on the dilemmas of two intellectually ambitious women in 1960s England

**

In a home overlooking London’s Regent’s Canal in the 1960s, two scholars debate the choices they have made with their lives. Catherine Delfont was one of the most promising minds of her generation, but after earning her PhD she gave up her research to marry a well-regarded economist and raise a family. Her cousin Leonora stayed in academia and became a successful classicist, able to observe both the breadth of history and the lives of others with brilliant, cool detachment. Together, they face the sacrifices they have made as women and intellectuals.

First performed in London in 1962 and later in Scandinavia, where it was produced by Ingmar Bergman, Doctors of Philosophy is a fascinating artifact of early second-wave feminism.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Muriel Spark including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s archive at the National Library of Scotland.


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    The Bachelors

      Muriel Spark
The Bachelors

First found contentedly chatting in their London clubs and shopping at Fortnum's, the cozy bachelors (as any Spark reader might guess) are not set to stay cozy for long. Soon enough, the men are variously tormented — defrauded or stolen from; blackmailed or pressed to attend horrid séances — and then plunged, all together, into the nastiest of lawsuits. At the center of that suit hovers pale, blank Patrick Seton, the medium. Meanwhile, horrors of every size plague the poor bachelors — from the rising price of frozen peas ("Your hand's never out of your pocket") to epileptic fits, forgeries, spiritualists foaming with protoplasm, and murder. And every horror delights: each is lit up by Spark's uncanny wit — at once malicious, funny, and deadly serious.


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    The Mandelbaum Gate

      Muriel Spark
The Mandelbaum Gate

To rendezvous with her archeologist fiance in Jordan, Barbara Vaughn must first pass through the Mandelbaum Gate--which divides strife-torn Jerusalem. A half-jewish convert to Catholicism, an Englishwoman of strong and stubborn convictions, Barbara will not be dissuaded from her ill-timed pilgrimage despite a very real threat of bodily harm and the fearful admonishments of staid British diplomat Freddy Hamilton.


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    The Driver's Seat

      Muriel Spark
The Driver's Seat

Lise is thin, neither good-looking nor bad-looking. One day she walks out of her office, acquires a gaudy new outfit, adopts a girlier tone of voice, and heads to the airport to fly south. On the plane she takes a seat between two men. One is delighted with her company, the other is deeply perturbed. So begins an unnerving journey into the darker recesses of human nature.


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