Sunday, February 01, 2009
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Muriel Spark
Today is the birthday of Muriel Spark, born February 1, 1918.
I don't know how to adequately express my Muriel Spark love, though I once tried here. A few years ago, my friend Caryl and I made a study of Spark, selecting a handful of her early novels to read and discuss. We started with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, her most well-known novel though not necessarily my favorite*, and quickly moved on to read more. The following year we chose a few more books, and this year we'll read Spark's memoir, Curriculum Vitae. My goal is to read Spark's entire works, including her poetry, plays, and short stories.
What I love most about Spark's writing is her dark humor, quickly succeeded by sparse but accurate language, with a chaser of sophisticated psychology. Her biography is interesting, fraught with spectacular drama, such as denying her Jewish heritage and an estrangement from her only child. Like Graham Greene, Spark was a convert to Catholicism, a subject which features prominently in her work. For more information, please refer to the National Library of Scotland's archives.
*Girls of Slender Means is my favorite Spark novel, to date.