The collected stories of the Scottish writer Muriel Spark, most well known for her slim novels like The Driver’s Seat, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Mandelbaum Gate, and The Girls of Slender Means.
I have to admit, there hasn’t been a single Muriel Spark novel that I’ve absolutely loved. For whatever reason, her use of language feels refracted to me in the sense that I look at it and see it and read, but my brain can’t a hundred percent process what exactly is going on. So when I read her novels, I can’t get at what the book is saying or doing. And the same is happening here for me.
So many of the stories in this collection basically left little to no impression on me whatsoever. A few I did like, and some I didn’t, but worst of all. I don’t think I could fully tell you about many of them at all. There’s stories that happen in small spaces (which I like) and some that happen in road space (like less) and then there’s ones that happen in African and other colonial spaces (not sure about these at all).
So in a way that’s almost the opposite of my experience with her novels, the story clarify my sense of her. And that sense is that I have almost no sense. She wrote a ton of books, and I have this weird draw toward her that I cannot shake, and these stories did not clarify my draw however.