This was a different and strange short novel. Nick Hornby was reading more Muriel Spark in his last compilation noting her ability satisfy with her short novels. Having read The Prime of Miss Brodie, I decided why not.
I started this in the queue to get my passport renewed and it was appropriate because it is about a woman who takes a journey to Italy on a mission. Early on in this story, the reader knows the outcome of Lise the protagonist so there is a certain amount of mystery, suspense and tension on how she gets to the ending.
The story was published in 1970 and the events and even Lise reflect the 1960’s. The book has a dark, violent and cruel ending. It is not precise and does not give you a sense of closure, but it’s memorable with its unique protagonist and Spark’s writing.
I was quite surprised by how dark it was. I was less surprised by the derangement exhibited by the protagonist because I am learning that delusion is a feature of Spark’s characters. Characters in the novel seem to talk at each other than with each other.
This is a story where I didn’t relate to anyone or any concept, but I did like the writing and found the plot provocative and the characters odd. I won’t likely forget Lise for awhile. I’m not surprised this was shortlisted for the Lost Booker Prize as it seems like a Booker story too.
Read March 1st-2nd 2013.