Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Muriel Spark obituaries

There have, of course, been obituaries for Muriel Spark in all the main papers over the weekend, including The Independent. There have also been tributes from, among others, AS Byatt.
One of my favourites [of Spark's stories] is 'The Driver's Seat'. It is about a woman who decides she's going to get herself killed. At the beginning she is buying garish clothes to attract a murderer; at the end she has found him and is dead. The character devises and executes the plot, and it says something very odd about who is "responsible" for evil. The murderer is a kind of victim.

It was the originality of the idea that I admired. You had the feeling that it wasn't Spark the writer who was judging the characters, but some unchanging Divine Justice. This allowed her to have her detached, even flatly sardonic tone. She was a very moral writer, but in a wicked sort of way.
More tributes from:David Lodge, Mark Lawson, Allan Massie.

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