Muriel Spark - The Comforters - Little, Brown Book Group

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    • ISBN:9781844085538
    • Publication date:06 Aug 2009
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The Comforters

By Muriel Spark

  • E-Book
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Muriel Spark's stunning debut novel

'The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times.' Ian Rankin

In this first novel by Muriel Spark - author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - the only things that aren't ambiguous are Spark's matchless originality and glittering wit.

With an introduction by Ali Smith.

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

'A master of malice and mayhem.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

'Brilliantly original and fascinating.' Evelyn Waugh

'A light, clever, mirthful tour de force ... It disrupts and charms its readers with its combination of wit, precision, intelligence and hilarity. As vibrant as ever, more than fifty years after its first appearance.' Ali Smith

Biographical Notes

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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  • ISBN: 9781405530460
  • Publication date: 09 May 2013
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Virago
That this light, clever, mirthful tour de force was a first novel is astounding. It ends with its own genesis, neatly, like a good joke. As vibrant as ever, more than 50 years after its first appearance, it still knocks the stuffing out of the realist tradition, and probably always will — Ali Smith
Little, Brown US

Little Women (Illustrated)

Louisa May Alcott
Authors:
Louisa May Alcott
Sphere

Vanity Fair

William Makepeace Thackeray
Authors:
William Makepeace Thackeray

The classic novel of 'villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing', soon to be a major new ITV series from the producers of Poldark, Victoria and And Then There Were None.William Makepeace Thackeray's witty literary classic Vanity Fair is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, and follows anti-heroine and ruthless social climber Becky Sharp as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story takes her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking heart and fortunes as she goes.ITV's new adaptation of will be one of the biggest drama series of 2018: its script comes from BAFTA-nominated writer Gwyneth Hughes, the series is co-produced by leading production companies Mammoth Screen and Amazon Studios, and Olivia Cooke - star of Steven Spielberg's hit blockbuster Ready Player One - plays Thackeray's timeless heroine Becky Sharp.Read the book before you see the series, then devour it all over again.

Virago

The Seventh Cross

Anna Seghers
Authors:
Anna Seghers

A rediscovered German classic novel from 1942, The Seventh Cross is both a gripping escape story and a powerful novel of resistance. 'At once a suspenseful manhunt story and a knowing portrait of the perils of ordinary life in Hitler's Germany, The Seventh Cross is not only an important novel, but an important historical document. This new, unabridged translation is a genuine publishing event' JOSEPH KANON, author of The Good German and Leaving Berlin'It was [Seghers] who taught my generation and anyone who had an ear to listen after that not-to-be-forgotten war to distinguish right from wrong. The Seventh Cross shaped me; it sharpened my vision' Gunter Grass'A masterpiece. Written in the midst of terror, but with such clarity, such acuity; Seghers is a writer of rare insight' Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in WinterSeven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers' fingers and it becomes a matter of pride to track him down, at whatever cost.Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. Hunted, injured and desperate, time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding his escape will pay with their life.The Seventh Cross powerfully documents the insidious rise of a fascist regime - the seething paranoia, the sudden arrests, the silence and fear.'A fascinating insight into life in pre-war Nazi Germany just as the horrors of the Nazi regime were beginning to unfold. This is an important novel, as much for its picture of German society as for its insight into the psyche of ordinary people confronting their personal fears and mixed loyalties' Simon Mawer, author of The Glass RoomThe Seventh Cross was written by one of the most important German writers of the twentieth century. Her aim was to write, 'A tale that makes it possible to get to know the many layers of fascist Germany through the fortunes of a single man.' She had four copies of the manuscript: one was destroyed in an air raid; a friend lost the second copy while fleeing the Nazis; another was found by the Gestapo; only the fourth copy survived, which, fortunately, she sent to her publisher in America just before she escaped Nazi-occupied France. Published in 1942, The Seventh Cross was an immediate bestseller and was the basis for an MGM film starring Spencer Tracy in 1944. It has been translated into more than 40 languages.

Virago

Memento Mori

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Remember you must die.Dame Lettie Colston is the first of her circle to receive insinuating anonymous phone calls. Neither she, nor her friends, wish to be reminded of their mortality, and their geriatric feathers are thoroughly ruffled. As the caller's activities become more widespread, old secrets are dusted off, exposing post and present duplicities, self-deception and blackmail. Nobody is above suspicion.Witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

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Zora Neale Hurston
Authors:
Zora Neale Hurston

She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree soaking in the alto chant of the visiting bees, the gold of the sun and the panting breath of the breeze when the inaudible voice of it all came to her . . .When sixteen-year-old Janie is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before she finally meets the man of her dreams - who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds.'Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more' - Zadie Smith Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame

Virago

The Return Of The Soldier

Rebecca West
Authors:
Rebecca West
Virago

The World My Wilderness

Rose Macaulay
Authors:
Rose Macaulay
Virago

The Observing Eye

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

The Observing Eye is a collection of Muriel Spark's brilliant asides, sayings, and aphorisms. No other writer can hold a candle to her wry, puckish observations:'Neurotics are awfully quick to notice other people's mentalities.''It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.''The sacrifice of pleasure is of course itself a pleasure.''Be on the alert to recognize your prime at whatever time in your life it may occur.''Ridicule is the only honourable weapon we have left.'Spark's striking insights are precise and unforgettable - they will make you laugh and nod in agreement, with a wicked smile on your face. Her wise words never fail to hit exactly the right note.

Virago

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett
Authors:
Frances Hodgson Burnett

'She put her hand in her pocket, drew out the key, and found it fitted the keyhole . . . she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly. Then she slipped through it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement and wonder and delight. She was standing inside the secret garden'Everybody at Misselthwaite Manor agrees that Mary Lennox is the most disagreeable child they have ever met. Pale, selfish and spoilt, the ten-year-old orphan has been sent from India to her uncle's estate and she is determined to hate everything about it. But the isolated house on the Yorkshire moors holds secrets that Mary cannot resist exploring: pitiful crying that echoes down the corridors at night and a hidden walled garden. When a robin leads Mary to the buried key, not only is the garden unlocked, but also her heart. And as the garden blooms, for the first time in her life, Mary discovers friendship. This is where the magic begins...'The mystery element kept me turning the pages but it was the superb characterisation that made the story stay with me. It taught me that it's never too late to remake yourself into someone better' Malorie Blackman'There is an old-fashioned tenderness and joy to it; the sense that magic happens if you are observant and quiet and know it will' Sophie DahlA collection that will be coveted by children and adults alike, this list is the best in children's literature, curated by Virago. These are timeless tales with beautiful covers, that will be treasured and shared across the generations. Some titles you will already know; some will be new to you, but there are stories for everyone to love, whatever your age. Our list includes Nina Bawden (Carrie's War, The Peppermint Pig), Rumer Godden (The Dark Horse, An Episode of Sparrows), Joan Aiken (The Serial Garden, The Gift Giving) E. Nesbit (The Psammead Trilogy, The Bastable Trilogy, The Railway Children), L. M. Montgomery (The Anne of Green Gables series) and Susan Coolidge (The What Katy Did Trilogy). Discover Virago Children's Classics.

Corsair

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Jennifer Egan
Authors:
Jennifer Egan
Abacus

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Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

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Virago

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Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier
Virago

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Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell
Abacus

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Patrick Hamilton
Authors:
Patrick Hamilton

The seventy-fifth anniversary edition, with a new introduction by Anthony Quinn.'I recommend Hamilton at every opportunity, because he was such a wonderful writer and yet is rather under-read today. All his novels are terrific' Sarah Waters'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick HornbyLondon, 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a drunken hell, except in his 'dead' moments, when something goes click in his head and he realises, without a doubt, that he must kill her. In the darkly comic Hangover Square Patrick Hamilton brilliantly evokes a seedy, fog-bound world of saloon bars, lodging houses and boozing philosophers, immortalising the slang and conversational tone of a whole generation and capturing the premonitions of doom that pervaded London life in the months before the war.

Virago

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Jacqueline Susann
Authors:
Jacqueline Susann

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Virago

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Angela Thirkell
Authors:
Angela Thirkell

Jack Middleton likes to imagine himself a country squire. At weekends he retires to Laverings Estate with his wife, Catherine. He may be pompous, and they may seem ill-matched, but the couple are devoted to each other.When Jack's widowed sister, Lilian, and her two stepchildren arrive to spend the summer in the neighbouring house, he dreads the intrusion to his idyll: Daphne, capable and ambitious, is too lively for his taste, whereas her brother Denis, a composer, he finds a crashing bore. But their wit and good sense charm the residents of Barchester, and they win over Lord Bond with an impromptu Gilbert and Sullivan evening. Even Jack begins to thaw.Before long, Daphne and Lord Bond's son become attracted to each other, but each believes the other is attached to someone else. Can disaster be averted before she marries the wrong man? First published in 1939, Before Lunch is a sparkling comedy from Angela Thirkell's much-loved classic series.

Virago

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Daphne Du Maurier
Authors:
Daphne Du Maurier

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Virago

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Sarah Waters
Authors:
Sarah Waters

Now a major motion picture starring Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter and Charlotte Rampling, and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize'Sarah Waters's masterly novel is . . . gripping, confident, unnerving and supremely entertaining' Hilary MantelIn a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, its owners - mother, son and daughter - struggling to keep pace. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.

Virago

A View Of The Harbour

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

She let herself out of the large, untidy house and into her own beautiful, hyacinth-scented one. She sat down in the bay-window of her bedroom and combed her hair before the mirror. She took it all down and built it up again, but there was no one to see what she had done.*In the faded coastal village of Newby, everyone looks out for - and in on - each other, and beneath the deceptively sleepy exterior, passions run high. Beautiful divorcee Tory is painfully involved with her neighbour, Robert, while his wife Beth, Tory's best friend, is consumed by the worlds she creates in her novels, oblivious to the relationship developing next door. Their daughter Prudence is aware, however, and is appalled by the treachery she observes. Mrs Bracey, an invalid whose grasp on life is slipping, forever peers from her window, constantly prodding her daughters for news of the outside world. And Lily Wilson, a lonely young widow, is frightened of her own home. Into their lives steps Bertram, a retired naval officer with the unfortunate capacity to inflict lasting damage while trying to do good.*'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one's own experience' - Elizabeth Bowen 'Always intelligent, often subversive and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person's dangerous housewife. Her sophisticated prose combines elegance, icy wit and freshness in a stimulating cocktail' - Valerie Martin'A magnificent and underrated mid-20th-century writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike' - David Baddiel, Independent

Virago

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Rosamond Lehmann
Authors:
Rosamond Lehmann

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