By Muriel Spark
Seemingly banal dinner-party chat reveals strange tales of the guests' dodgy pasts and unreliable futures. Symposium is Muriel Spark at her wicked best.
'The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the crème de la crème.' Ian Rankin
One October evening five London couples gather for a dinner party, enjoying 'the pheasant (flambe in cognac as it is)' and waiting for the imminent arrival of the late-coming guest Hilda Damien, who has been unavoidably detained due to the fact that she is being murdered at this very moment.
With an introduction by Ian Rankin.
Symposium is Muriel Spark - one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century and author of classics including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - at her wicked best.
'A rich, heady, disturbing brew.' Lorna Sage
'Extremely clever and highly entertaining.' Penelope Lively
'Stiletto-sharp fiction.' Alan Taylor, Scotland on Sunday
Muriel Spark, D.B.E, C. Litt, was born in Edinburgh in 1918. A poet and novelist, she also wrote children's books, radio plays, a comedy, 'Doctors of Philosophy', first performed in London in 1962, and biographies. She is best known for her stories and many successful novels, including Memento Mori, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Loitering With Intent, The Comforters, A Far Cry from Kensington and The Public Image. For her long career of literary achievement, Muriel Spark won international praise and many awards, including the David Cohen British Literature Award, the T. S. Eliot Award, the Saltire Prize, the Boccaccio Prize for European Literature, the Gold Pen Award and the Italia Prize for dramatic radio. Muriel Spark was given an honorary doctorate of Letters from a number of universities, London, Edinburgh and Oxford among these. She died in 2006.
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- Publication date:
07 Sep 2006
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The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the crème de la crème — Ian Rankin
Extremely clever and highly entertaining ... A young bride is seen to have been connected, apparently by chance, with a sequence of untimely deaths ... Symposium is put together like an intricate jigsaw puzzle — Penelope Lively
This is the story of a dinner party, a knot of people with pasts and connections which at first seem few but are later found to be many ... The prevailing mood is urbane: the wine is poured, the talk continues, and all the time the ice on which the protagonist s' world rests is being thinned from beneath by boiling emotions and ugly motives ... No living writer handles the tension between formality of expression and the subversiveness of thought more elegantly — Candia McWilliam, Independent on Sunday
Stiletto-sharp fiction...as in the bitter confections of Ivy Compton-Burnett, it is the dialogue that propels this dangerous, devilish book — Alan Taylor, Scotland on Sunday