Curriculum Vitae
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Curriculum Vitae

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  114 ratings  ·  15 reviews
This autobiography, now in paperback, offers a wonderfully vivid account of the people and places that inspired so much of Muriel Spark's writing, such as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Here, readers will find high comedy, betrayal, rigorous intelligence, the odd twist of faith, and mysterious grace--all the elements that have delighted her readers for more than 35 years....more
Published October 25th 2001 by Penguin (first published 1992)
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I finished reading this memoir yesterday (February 2, 2009) and found it interesting since the author wrote so well and clearly that we readers can understand how her literay life had developed and why. It all started some 35 years ago in the late 70s when I watched a film entitled, "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" in a movie theatre on Sukhumvit Road (defunct, a small shopping mall instead there). The film was so wonderful that I kept wondering who wrote such a fantastic novel. I'm not sure how...more
I should probably have read this before reading the large authorized biography. Still, that's not really a problem. The two books have different goals and points of view. This memoir, read as literature, is quite engaging for the first five chapters, and follows in a perhaps now-defunct tradition of autobiographies by writers or other highly literate figures wherein the author beautifully evokes the past without dwelling heavily on her/his own psychology and feelings. Chapter six, which deals wi...more
I am essentially completely unfamiliar with most of Spark's works; I took this off the shelf because it was shelved near Death and the Maidens, and I felt like some good British-literature-author-writing over the recent rainstorms. I enjoyed the description of her childhood in Scotland and some of her World War II and post-war descriptions. She has a very arch wit and I felt many raised eyebrows and significant looks from her, which was fun. However, she seemed to gloss over quite a lot of heart...more
Witty, spunky, high-spirited. I haven't read any of Spark's work previously, and I plan to. A wonderfully observant and detailed romp through Edinburgh in the 1930s; thoughts on being white in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa around 1940; wartime UK; and delightfully narrated nasty little trials and tests of a young woman in a position of professional authority. Great fun, though I don't disagree with other readers' comments that the subject of Spark's son seems a bit dubious. It is...more
Interesting, but a little dry.
I adore Muriel Sparks' novels. Reading her memoir illuminates context for several of her novels and characters, not least Jean Brodie. Unfortunately, what also comes through is that Spark can be very petty, carrying grudges over seemingly minor matters for decades, and airing them against people who are dead or who are not writers and therefore can't effectively answer. It's not an admirable aspect of her character. But overall, I loved the book, as I do all her writing.
Mar 02, 2010 Becca marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, biography
I liked this, but started reading it at a bad time. I got about 1/3 of the way through before the library started breathing down my back and I had to return it (after several renewal attempts!). However, that said, I will get back to this. I really enjoyed what I did accomplish, but it's a relatively directionless memoir, so there wasn't anything enticing enough to pull me through it despite distractions.
E A M Harris
Brilliantly written (as you would expect). Very interesting on her childhood in Edinburgh and her semi-secret war work. A bit light on how she felt about things.

I particularly disliked the part where she was spiteful about someone she didn't get on with. In my opinion a public work of literature is not the place for personal vendettas.
If you haven't read Spark before, this probably isn't the starting place. But it was delightful if you already know her work. Some fragments are brilliant, others are just interesting. Read it on a flight.
Rohan Maitzen
This is pretty easy to enjoy: Spark has a light touch and (as you'd expect from her fiction) an observant eye and acerbic wit.
I'll never forget Muriel Spark's description of the Victoria Falls...
Found this book in Mary's home in Spain. Very interesting biography
Funny, well-written and a pleasure to read.
Interesting, but I wanted more.
Amanda Kruckenberg
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Dame Muriel Spark, DBE (1918–2006) was a prolific Scottish novelist, short story writer, and poet whose darkly comedic voice made her one of the most distinctive writers of the twentieth century. Spark grew up in Edinburgh and worked as a department store secretary, writer for trade magazines, and literary editor before publishing her first novel in 1957. A few years earlier, in 1954, she converte...more
More about Muriel Spark...
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie The Girls of Slender Means A Far Cry from Kensington Memento Mori The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means, The Driver's Seat, The Only Problem (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics)

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“The sparkle and morning-freshness of the shop, and the butter-conjuring girl, formed a mind-picture which accompanied the whole of my youth.(about the Buttercup Dairy)” 0 likes
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