Friday, 20 November 2009
The comforters (Spark) 542
The comforters is Spark's first novel, and it certainly sets the scene for the rather post-modernist novels which followed. Apparently very much based on Spark's own life and experiences it tells the story of Caroline Rose who is plagued by hearing voices and the sound of typewriter keys, and believes that she is actually in a novel :'it is as if a writer on another plane of existence was writing a story about us'. There is a wonderful cast of other characters, such as Laurence, her former lover, who is the grandson mentioned in the Tuesday teaser , who lives with his grandmouth and wonders whether she might be a smuggler after discovering diamonds in a loaf of bed. Like many of Spark's other novels, the plot is not the central element - rather it is the opportunity to explore the meaning of writing and what it is to be written about - and it is the way in which Spark describes her characters which make it so memorable.
I hope you enjoyed the Muriel Spark themed posts this week, and big thanks to Virago for sending me the copies which I have written about. One thing that has been mentioned in the comments is the hope for Virago to republish more of Sparks works - I would concur with this sentiment, but I suspect that Virago do not have the rights to all of the books. Another thing that I have been asked is which Spark novel is my favourite; unfortunately my two favourite Sparks novels are ones which I have not mentioned this week because they have not been published by Virago - they are The prime of Miss Jean Brodie and The girls of slender means.