Here we see Spark in one of her best roles: a literary subversive exposing the extreme narcissism of the social and intellectual elite - or, even better, faux elite. And in this novel she demands the reader pay close attention to subtext, to puzzles, to her game of conspicuous names and mysterious doublings and triplings of characters. Ultimately we ask: how reliable is our narrator - and, how sane?
Happily loitering about London, c. 1949, with the intent of gathering material for her writing, Fleur Talbot finds a job “on the grubby edge of the literary world” at the very peculiar Autobiographical Association. Mad egomaniacs writing their memoirs in advance — or poor fools ensnared by a blackmailer? When the association’s pompous director steals Fleur’s manuscript, fiction begins to appropriate life.
About the Author
Muriel Spark (1918–2006) was the author of dozens of novels, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Memento Mori, A Far Cry from Kensington, The Girls of Slender Means, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, The Driver’s Seat, and many more. She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.