The author of twenty-two acclaimed novels and nearly as many other books of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biography, and autobiography, the late Muriel Spark was not widely known as an essayist. Before her death in 2006 she asked her close friend and literary executor Penelope Jardine to put together a collection of her essays, reviews, journalism, broadcasts, speeches, and the odd pensée for publication. Jardine claims to have based her selection on standards of weight and consequence: While Spark reviewed books for the London Observer for a decade, for example, her executor deems all these ephemeral pieces too slight for inclusion. But many of the works she did see fit to include are themselves undeniably slight, leading the reader to conclude that critical journalism was not Spark’s forte. The selections are divided into four sections: Life, Literature, Miscellany, and Faith (Spark, by birth...

 

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