Related to: 'Territorial Rights'

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 Public Image

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Annabel Christopher is every inch the star: a glamorous actress with a devoted, handsome husband. To keep the paparazzi and her adoring public under her spell, her perfect image must be carefully cultivated, whatever the cost. Beneath the facade, though, her husband cannot bear her or their vapid existence. Envious of her success, he plots his revenge and stages a scandal even Annabel will find a challenge to recover from.

Virago

The Mandelbaum Gate

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

When Barbara Vaughan's fiancé joins an archaeological excursion to the Dead Sea Scrolls, she takes the opportunity to explore the Holy Land. It is 1961, and the nation of Israel is still in its infancy. For Barbara, a half-Jewish Catholic convert, this is a journey of faith, and she ignores warnings not to cross the Mandelbaum Gate from Israel into Jordan. An adventure of espionage and abduction, from pilgrimage to flight, The Mandelbaum Gate is one of Spark's most compelling novels, and won the James Tait Memorial Prize.

Virago

Memento Mori

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Unforgettably astounding and a joy to read, Memento Mori is considered by many to be the greatest novel by the wizardly Dame Muriel Spark. In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, "Remember you must die." Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off. Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed. As spooky as it is witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.

Virago

A Far Cry From Kensington

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

'Mercurially funny, playful and mischievous' Ali Smith'I was in heaven reading this book. I think she writes like an angel . . . just blissful' Stephen FryA novel of 'pure delight' (Claire Tomalin) by the author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.When Mrs Hawkins tells Hector Bartlett he 'urinates frightful prose', little does she realise the repercussions. Holding that 'no life can be carried on satisfactorily unless people are honest' Mrs Hawkins refuses to retract her judgement, and as a consequence, loses not one, but two much-sought-after jobs in publishing. Now, years older, successful, and happily a far cry from Kensington, she looks back over the dark days that followed, in which she was embroiled in a mystery involving anonymous letters, quack remedies, blackmail and suicide.With an introduction by Ali Smith.'Wonderfully entertaining.' Sunday Telegraph'An outstanding novel ... A Far Cry From Kensington has an effortless, translucent grasp of the spirit of the period.' Observer

Virago

The Comforters

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

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

Virago

Loitering With Intent

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark
Virago

Symposium

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of over eighty books on a wide array of subjects, including the award-winning The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. He is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie novels and the world's longest-running serial novel, 44 Scotland Street. His books have been translated into forty-six languages. Alexander McCall Smith is Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities.

Angela Thirkell

Angela Thirkell (1890-1961) was the eldest daughter of John William Mackail, a Scottish classical scholar and civil servant, and Margaret Burne-Jones. Her relatives included the pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones, Rudyard Kipling and Stanley Baldwin, and her grandfather was J. M. Barrie. She was educated in London and Paris, and began publishing articles and stories in the 1920s. In 1931 she brought out her first book, a memoir entitled Three Houses, and in 1933 her comic novel High Rising - set in the fictional county of Barsetshire, borrowed from Trollope - met with great success. She went on to write nearly thirty Barsetshire novels, as well as several further works of fiction and non-fiction. She was twice married and had four children.

Anna Seghers

ANNA SEGHERS (1900-1983) was born Netty Reiling in Mainz, Germany, into a Jewish family. In 1924 she received a doctorate in Art History from the University of Heidelberg, and in the same year her first story, written under the name Antje Seghers, was published. During this time, she came into contact with many left-wing intellectuals, including her husband, a Hungarian economist, and began writing in earnest. By the end of 1928, Anna Seghers had joined the Communist Party, given birth to two children and was awarded the Kleist Prize for her first novel, The Revolt of the Fishermen of St Barbara.As Jew, a Communist and a revolutionary writer, she was blacklisted in Nazi Germany and left for France in 1933 with her family. After the Nazi invasion in 1940, she was forced to flee again and, with the aid of Varian Fry, she and her family sailed from Marseilles to Mexico on a ship that included Victor Serge, André Breton and Claude Lévi-Strauss among its passengers.Seghers gained international recognition with The Seventh Cross (1942), which became a bestseller. It was the basis for the 1944 MGM film starring Spencer Tracy and was one of the only depictions of Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War in either literature or film. It has been translated into more than thirty languages.After the war Seghers moved to East Berlin, where she became a prominent figure of East German letters, actively championing the work of younger writers from her position as president of the Writers Union. Among Seghers' internationally acclaimed works are The Seventh Cross; Transit (1944); Excursion of the Dead Girls (1945); The Dead Stay Young (1949); and the story collection Benito's Blue (1973).

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.

E. Nesbit

Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) is perhaps most famous for writing The Railway Children and Five Children and It, but she was extremely prolific and wrote or collaborated on more than sixty children's books. Nesbit is today recognised as one of the most influential and innovative children's writers that ever lived, and is cited as an inspiration by many contemporary authors, including J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Saunders and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Even C. S. Lewis acknowledged the debt his Narnia series owed to her work - particularly the Bastable and Psammead trilogies.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) is increasingly recognised as one of the best British writers of the twentieth century. She wrote her first book, At Mrs Lippincote's, during the war while her husband was in the Royal Air Force, and this was followed by eleven further novels and a children's book, Mossy Trotter. Her acclaimed short stories appeared in publications including Vogue, the New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar.

Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan is the author of A Visit From The Goon Squad, The Keep, Look at Me, The Invisible Circus, and the story collection Emerald City. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, GQ, Zoetrope, All-Story, and Ploughshares, and her non-fiction appears frequently in The New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.

Jilly Bond

JILLY BOND has recorded over 300 audiobooks and won four Audiofile Earphones Awards. She also regularly appears on stage, and has appeared at the National Theatre in "Island", at the Birmingham Repertory in "Jump!", Manchester Lowry in "Transmissions", the English Theatre of Hamburg in "Othello" and "Mrs Warren's Profession" and on the Edinburgh and London Fringes, including at the Finborough as human-rights lawyer Fethiye Cetin in "I Wish to Die Singing" which won the Best Play UK Studio Theatre Awards. She has recorded over 100 radio plays for the BBC, as well as playing Bridget in "The Archers", and TV work has includedDr Greene in "Doctors", Dr Jannatie in "Judge John Deed" and roles in "Comedy Nation", "People Like Us", "My Hero" & "Alastair McGowan's Big Impression".

John Bayley

John Bayley is Fellow of St Catherine's College, Oxford.

Michele Roberts

Half-English/half-French, Michèle Roberts was born in 1949. DAUGHTERS OF THE HOUSE (1992) was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the W.H. Smith Literary Award. She has just been appointed Professor of Creative Writing at UEA.

Patricia Highsmith

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved to New York when she was six, where she attended the Julia Richman High School and Barnard College. In her senior year she edited the college magazine, having decided at the age of sixteen to become a writer. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was made into a classic film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley, published in 1955, introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, and was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1999 by Anthony Minghella. Graham Greene called Patricia Highsmith 'the poet of apprehension', saying that she 'created a world of her own - a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger' and The Times named her no.1 in their list of the greatest ever crime writers. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland, in February 1995. Her last novel, Small g: A Summer Idyll, was published posthumously, the same year.

Patrick Hamilton

Patrick Hamilton was one of the most gifted and admired writers of his generation. His plays include Rope (1929), on which the Hitchcock thriller was based, and Gas Light (1939). Among his novels are The Midnight Bell, The Siege of Pleasure, The Plains of Cement, Twenty-thousand Streets Under the Sky, Hangover Square, The Slaves of Solitude and The West Pier. He died in 1962.The Sunday Telegraph said: 'His finest work can easily stand comparison with the best of this more celebrated contempories George Orwell and Graham Greene.'