Reality and Dreams by Muriel Spark

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“Sleek and suggestive . . . [Reality and Dreams] is so smart and seductive that you fail to notice how completely you’ve accepted a world gone utterly awry.” —Kirkus Reviews

British film director Tom Richard won acclaim for his moments of pure creative inspiration. But when Richard is hospitalized after toppling from a crane during a shoot, he awakes not knowing what is real and what is not—and with no idea who to trust. Soon his wife, children, and friends are all undergoing crises of their own, from the breakup of a marriage to the loss of a job. As Richard fights to regain his health and stay centered amid the swirling chaos of his personal life, he must also wrest control of his film—his most prized pursuit—from those who seek to take it away. Witty andengrossing, Reality and Dreams is a whiplash ride through the highs and lows of the creative process. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Muriel Spark including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s archive at the National Library of Scotland. 
 

About Muriel Spark

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Muriel Spark has been called "our most chillingly comic writer since Evelyn Waugh" by the London Spectator, and the New Yorker praised her novel Memento Mori ri (1959) as "flawless." Her fiction is marked by its remarkable diversity, wit, and craftsmanship. "She happens to be, by some rare concatenation of grace and talent, an artist, a serious---and most accomplished---writer, a moralist engaged with the human predicament, wildly entertaining, and a joy to read" (SRSR). She became widely known in the United States when the New Yorker devoted almost an entire issue to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961). Set in Edinburgh in the 1930s, this is the story of a schoolteacher, her unorthodox approach to life, and its effect on her select group of adolescent girls. Though their idol turns out to have feet of clay, she leaves an indelible mark on their lives. The Girls of Slender Means (1963), also warmly praised, is a sardonic look at the vivacity of youth and the anxieties of young womanhood. Reviewing The Mandelbaum Gate (1965) for the New Republic, Honor Tracy wrote: "There is an abundance here of invention, humor, poetry, wit, perception, that all but takes the breath away. . . . The story, in fact, is pure adventure, with the suspense as artfully maintained as anywhere by Graham Greene, but this is only one ingredient. There are memorable descriptions of the Holy Land, fascinating insights into the jumble of intrigue and piety surrounding the Holy Places, and penetrating studies of Arabs. . . . In each of [Spark's] novels heretofore one of her qualities has tended to predominate over the others. Here for the first time they are all impressively marshaled side by side, resulting in her best work so far." The daughter of an Englishwoman and a Scottish-Jewish father, Spark was born and educated in Edinburgh. After her marriage in 1938, she lived for some years in Central Africa, a period rarely reflected in her work. During World War II, she returned to Britain, where she worked in the Political Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office after the breakup of her marriage. She has been a magazine editor and written poetry and literary criticism. Spark has lived in London's Camberwell section, the setting of The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960), but now makes her home in New York. Her novels reflect her conversion to Roman Catholicism.
 
Published March 20, 2012 by Open Road Media. 160 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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When Tom's film resumes production, reality and dream further intertwine: Actors confuse their roles with life, Tom's family behaves as if they were in a movie, and Tom himself rants on to his devoted new friend, a West Indian taxi driver with an absolutist sense of morality: a perfect antidote t...

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Publishers Weekly

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After various title changes and corporate shenanigans while he is hors de combat, the film is eventually resumed-as is his life with his charming, wealthy and all-forgiving wife, Claire, their ungainly and rather sinister daughter, Marigold, and Cora, his beautiful daughter by an earlier marriage.

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Entertainment Weekly

In Muriel Spark's 20th novel, Reality and Dreams, British filmmakers and actors play musical beds while dapper 63-year-old director Tom Richards is less lustfully bedded after toppling from a crane during a shoot.

May 02 1997 | Read Full Review of Reality and Dreams

London Review of Books

Frank Kermode, who died on 17 August 2010 at the age of 90, was the author of many books, including Romantic Image (1957), The Sense of an Ending (1967) and Shakespeare’s Language (2000).

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