This book was published in 1959 and was Muriel Spark’s third book. It’s only the second one which I’ve read by her and I have to say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Girls of Slender Means.
I don’t think it was anything to do with the writing of the book, it’s just that I didn’t find the subject matter all that interesting. I also wasn’t all that keen on the fact that the characters were very similar to the Bloomsbury Group people, except they were in their old age.
Lots of the elderly people in the book get anonymous phone calls and the caller only ever says – Remember you must die. This runs all through the book and it affects them in different ways. The answer which I would give is – And so must you, so cheerio! But I suppose we’re all different.
One of the characters is a blackmailer, another is a dirty old man and there’s a woman who is always writing a new will. Having frequented geriatric wards in the past I must say that Spark does write very well about that sort of environment, but maybe if you’ve already been there it isn’t something which you want to revisit in fiction.
I think the problem was that there really weren’t any likeable characters at all, and that always makes it difficult to enjoy a book.
This was another one which was on my 2011 Reading List, so another one bites the dust but I think it’ll be a while before I pay Muriel Spark another visit.