Symposium by Muriel Spark

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Dame Muriel Spark delivers a delightfully alarming novel, full of high society and low cunning.

One October evening five posh London couples gather for a dinner party, enjoying "the pheasant (flambe in cognac as it is)" and waiting for the imminent arrival of the late-coming guest Hilda Damien, who has been unavoidably detained due to the fact that she is being murdered at this very moment

Symposium was applauded by Time magazine for the "sinister elegance" of Muriel Spark's "medium of light but lethal comedy." Mixed in are a Monet, a mad uncle, some unconventional nuns, and a burglary ring run by a rent-a-butler. Symposium stars a perfectly evil young woman (a classic sweet-faced hair-raising Sparkian horror) who has married rich Hilda's son by hook or by crook, hooking him at the fruit counter of Harrod's. There is also spiritual conversationand the Bordeaux is superb. "The prevailing mood is urbane: the wine is poured, the talk continues, and all the time the ice on which the protagonists' world rests is being thinned from beneath, by boiling emotions and ugly motives .No living writer handles the tension between formality of expression and subversiveness of thought more elegantly." (The Independent on Sunday).

About Muriel Spark

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Muriel Spark (1918-2006) is the author of dozens of novels including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Memento Mori, A Far Cry from Kensington, The Girls of Slender Means, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, The Driver's Seat, Not to Disturb, and many more. She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.
Published October 17, 2006 by New Directions. 192 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Symposium

Entertainment Weekly

Plato's Symposium concerned a dinner party at which the theme was love, platonic and otherwise.

Dec 07 1990 | Read Full Review of Symposium

London Review of Books

The elaborate structure of Symposium now allows its author to explore, with a convert’s temerity, the very nature of omniscience, be it divine or authorial: of the several Catholic characters in the novel, by far the most important – although there are only one or two misjudged moments of specifi...

| Read Full Review of Symposium

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