Monday, April 23, 2012

BOOK: Symposium by Muriel Spark

Symposium by Muriel Spark, 147 pages

Muriel Spark Reading Week

This is my first Muriel Spark book. Hmm. It's very intellectual, a satire I believe.

Satire: A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.

The thing is, even though I had to look up what exactly satire means, and I can't really elucidate what Sparks attacked, I do sense it. And the reason why I still liked the book, even though I'm sure I missed huuge amounts of what the layers were, is that the superficial layer of the plot and character was good. I enjoyed it, and the weird people, and discovering all their connections and layers. I used the word intellectual because Sparks doesn't play to the emotions - I was watching them all from a distance, detached. Plus, I usually like British books.

The story is about a dinner party - Hurley Reed and Chris Donovan throw the best dinner parties. They agonize over the menu, work to get just the right mix of guests. The story starts at the party, and then backtracks into the recent past of the characters attending, gradually revealing their connections to each other. Gradually, a mystery is revealed and some characters are rather sketchy. And then Spark throws a sucker punch and you realize, it's going to be like this? She drops a line that makes you rethink the whole book. That's why I enjoyed the book. I like getting surprised like that.

Next up in my Muriel Spark adventure: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. This is her arguably most famous book, and one that makes the "1001 books you need to read before you die" list.

Check out Stuck in a Book for more reviews of Muriel Spark's books this week.