Loitering with Intent, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Art, reality and the strange ways the two imitate one another are at the core of Muriel Spark's delightful Loitering with Intent, first published in 1981. Would-be novelist Fleur Talbot works for the snooty, irascible Sir Quentin Oliver at the Autobiographical Association, whose members are all at work on their memoirs.

When her employer gets his hands on Fleur's novel-in-progress, mayhem ensues when its scenes begin coming true. Generating hilarious turns of phrase and larger-than-life characters (especially Sir Quentin's batty mother), Spark's inimitable style make this literary joyride thoroughly appealing.


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Published when Spark was 64, the story draws on the author's experience as a young woman in post-war London. It is written in the first person and styled as a memoir, giving an element of authenticity in mirroring Spark's own youth as an aspiring writer. The characters are a diverse group of oddballs presented with Spark's typical acerbic humour in a neat plot. Very entertaining.

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