This book is an intimate, fond, and funny memoir of one of the greatest novelists of the last century. A colourful, personal, anecdotal, indiscrete, and admiring memoir that charts the course of Muriel Spark's life revealing her as she really was. Once, she commented sitting over a glass of chianti at the kitchen table, that she was upset that the academic whom she had appointed her official biographer did not appear to think that she had ever cracked a joke in her life. Alan Taylor here sets the record straight about this and many other things.
With sources ranging from notebooks kept from his very first encounter with Muriel and the hundreds of letters they exchanged over the years, this is an invaluable portrait of one of Edinburgh's premiere novelists. The book will be published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel's birth in 2018.
'Anyone who loves Muriel Spark's novels will enjoy this intelligent and affectionate book. Anyone who reads it, though ignorant of the novels, will surely want to read them' -- Allan Massie * Scotsman * 'an affectionate but clear-sighted memoir...Taylor creates a mosaic portrait of Spark, that is alert and alive almost novelistically nuanced. His introductory chapter would serve a casual reader or student ideally as an introduction to Spark and her work...' -- Brian Morton * Herald * 'a highly personal and often amusing new book about [Spark and Taylor's] friendship' -- Marianne Taylor * Herald Magazine * 'Sharply observant, Taylor's cautious, respectful, sincere and measured prose sustains what's at the core of the whole book: affection. A sense of liking runs through it. And from the moment of their first meeting, Spark seems to have recognised the affection, critical sensibility and genuineness of Taylor's respect...it has the method, the sensitivity to moments, the delicacy and strength, the senses of both vulnerability and durability, of one of Spark's favourites, Proust's In Search of Lost Time' -- Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University * The National * 'an insightful, fond and gossipy read, with a Sparkian title to boot' -- Kirsty Wark * The Observer *
Alan Taylor has contributed to numerous publications, including The TLS, The New Yorker and The Melbourne Age, and edited four acclaimed
anthologies - The Assassin's Cloak (2000), The Secret Annexe (2004), The Country Diaries (2009) and most recently, Glasgow: The