Related to: 'The Public Image'

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

Territorial Rights

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

Robert wants nothing more than to become a serious art historian. But his hopes for an academic life are put on hold when he's driven from London to Venice to escape one lover and seek out another: the enigmatic Bulgarian refugee Lina Pancev. In Venice, Robert encounters a grand carnival of lust, lies, blackmail, cocktail parties and regicide. As he chases Lina, his heart's desire, the city itself provides a priceless education in love, art and beauty.

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

The Mandelbaum Gate

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark
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

With a cover design by Lucienne DayWhen Mrs Hawkins tells Hector Bartlett he is a 'pisseur de copie', that 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.

Virago

Loitering With Intent

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark
Virago

Symposium

Muriel Spark
Authors:
Muriel Spark

'The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the crème de la crème.' Ian RankinOne 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

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.

Ali Smith

Ali Smith was born in Inverness and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of three collections of stories and three novels. Hotel World was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize in 2001 and her latest novel, The Accidental, won the 2006 Whitbread Novel Award. Ali reviews regularly for the Guardian, the Scotsman and the TLS.

Beryl Bainbridge

Beryl Bainbridge was one of the greatest living novelists. Author of seventeen novels, two travel books and five plays for stage and television, she was shortlisted for the Booker Prize five times, and won many literary awards including the Whitbread Prize and the Author of the Year Award at the British Book Awards. She died in July 2010.

Celia Brayfield

Celia Brayfield is a bestselling novelist and a journalist. Her most recent novels, GETTING HOME, SUNSET and HEARTSWAP were published to great critical acclaim by Little Brown. She has one daughter and lives and works in London.

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.

L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery was born in 1874 on Prince Edward Island, Canada, where she spent her childhood living with her grandparents in an old farmhouse. A prolific writer, she published many short stories, poems and novels, many of which were inspired by the years she spent on the beautiful Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables and its sequels have always been amongst the most popular of children's classics. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942 and was buried on her beloved island.

Linda Grant

Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006, and was longlisted for the Man Booker in 2002 for Still Here. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award.

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott was born in Pennsylvania in 1832. Like the character of Jo March in Little Women, young Louisa didn't conform to the restrictions placed on girls of the period: 'No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race,' she claimed, 'and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences.' And, also like Jo, she was highly imaginative and writing was an early passion.As her family was often in financial difficulty, Louisa worked from a young age to support her family, taking any position available: a governess, domestic servant, seamstress and teacher were among her jobs. She also wrote poetry and short stories for popular magazines, and melodramatic novels under a pseudonym. When the American Civil War began, Louisa, who fervently opposed slavery, lamented that women weren't able to fight, and volunteered as a nurse at the Union Hospital in Georgetown, Washington. Her nursing career was brief as she contracted typhoid, but she wrote Hospital Sketches, a truthful and poignant account based on letters she wrote home to her family in Concord, and it was published to great acclaim.In 1868 Louisa was asked by her publisher to write 'a girls' story'. This resulted in Little Women, which is largely based on the experiences of the author and her three sisters. It was a phenomenal success. In a time when children's books were morality tales featuring idealised, two-dimensional protagonists, Little Women was revolutionary, peopled as it was by relatable, flawed, fully realised characters. Its success guaranteed financial stability for Louisa, who continued the March family's story in Good Wives, Little Men and Jo's Boys. Louisa never married, concluding that 'liberty is a better husband than love.' She died in 1888 and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.

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.

Miles Franklin

Miles Franklin (1879-1954) was born into a pioneering family settled in New South Wales, Australia. She wrote My Brilliant Career when she was only sixteen. Publication in 1901 brought instant fame and a notoriety that was so unwelcome that she forbade its republication until ten years after her death. Miles Franklin then went to America, where she worked for the Women's Trade Union League, and later to London and Salonika, where she did war work and was political secretary for the National Housing Council. In 1933 she returned to Australia, where she spent the rest of her life. My Career Goes Bung, the sequel to My Brilliant Career, was published in 1946, and her autobiography, Childhood at Brindabella, posthumously in 1963.