The Complete Short Stories, Paperback Book

The Complete Short Stories Paperback

Part of the Canons series

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


From the cruel irony of 'A member of the Family' to the fateful echoes of 'The Go-Away Bird' and the unexpectedly sinister 'The Girl I Left Behind Me', in settings that range from South Africa to the Portobello Road, Muriel Spark coolly probes the idiosyncrasies that lurk beneath the veneer of human respectability, displaying the acerbic wit and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her unique talent.

The Complete Short Stories is a collection to be loved and cherished, from one of the finest short-story writers of the twentieth century.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Short stories
  • ISBN: 9780857862273

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The topics of many of these stories will be familiar to Muriel Spark readers: life for White colonists in South Africa, the struggles of middle and upper-class young people with titles and refined manners but without much in the way of money or prospects, Spark's rather postmodern take on fantasy and the gothic, the lives of those staying in religious institutions and the tensions brought about by living in such close quarters, etc.It's all told with Spark's caustic wit and an eye that penetrates the grimier motivations and emotions that we hide. I didn't grow to love many of these characters but I became accustomed to Spark's narrative style and presence in the stories. Sometimes I found it hard to sympathise with the problems of the White people living in Africa when they so plainly didn't consider the problems of those living around them, but the way the stories enter into their minds and their lives makes them always interesting, if rarely likeable. The stories hint at some of the usual attitudes you'd find in people writing about Africa in the '40s and '50s, but aside from that issue the stories are never predictable and are always surprising in the way that good short stories are.

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