Memento Mori, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Unforgettably astounding and a joy to read, Memento Mori is considered by many to be the greatest novel by the wizardly Dame Muriel Spark.

In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends: an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, "Remember you must die." Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off.

Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed.

As spooky as it is witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.


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Life is a series of strange and amusing events and none more so than the whole act of aging as it is presented in Muriel Spark’s Memento Mori. This was an absolutely delightful read that had me turning the pages eagerly and snickering to myself. Cut through the humor and you are left with a wicked satire on both the aged and their treatment that delivers it’s message in a clear, concise and very original manner. As I got deeper into the book however, I found myself becoming attached to and caring about the fate of these characters very much.As pretty much every character in the book is age seventy or older, the subject matters of senility, funerals and nursing homes are explored as Ms. Spark’s macabre point of view presents the concerns and actions of the elderly. The plot revolves upon a mystery, as an anonymous phone caller leaves a frightening message of “Remember you must die” to one of the elderly main characters. Soon others are receiving this same message, but all describe a different voice.This is the first book I have read by Muriel Spark and I admit I was a little concerned as to whether I would enjoy her work, but this story totally enchanted me. Although this subject matter could have been depressing, in this author’s capable hands this unique story of aging eccentrics was both fresh and inventive.