Saturday, April 15, 2006
Muriel Spark is one of the writers that I most admire and I was sad today to hear the news of her death. The first Spark book that I read was her first novel, The Comforters, in the summer of 1985. I was so taken with it that I continued on from there to read every other novel that she’d written to up that point. When her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, came out in 1992, I got a little thrill from this sentence on the first page: “I was born in Edinburgh, at 160 Bruntsfield Place, the Morningside District, in 1918.” You see, I too once lived on Bruntsfield Place, albeit only for one year when I was ten years old. A minor coincidence I know, but it's hard to resist the temptation to accord some significance to even the most tenuous connection to a favourite author. It was one of my reading resolutions for 2006 to revisit the novels of Muriel Spark and now, on the eve of a trip to her birthplace, this seems like a good time to start. At the very least, I will bring a copy of her quintessential Edinburgh novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, along with me.