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Der letzte Schliff : Roman
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Der letzte Schliff : Roman

liked it 3.0  ·  Rating details ·  979 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
Was sich in den Klassenzimmern eines Internats am Genfersee abspielt, ist äußerst lehrreich. Aber nicht immer lehrplangemäß. 'Der letzte Schliff': eine moderne Schulgeschichte, ein amouröser Clinch zweier Jungautoren, eine Mordgeschichte. Ein obsessiver Reigen, in dem nicht nur wichtig ist, wer mit wem schlief, sondern wer wem wie an den Kragen will.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published February 2007 by Diogenes (first published 2004)
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The bookshelves constitute the review. Though I paid only $2.98 for this smug little nugget of crap, I'm tempted to sue the estate of Muriel Spark just on principle. The characters don't even rise to the level of caricature; they are stick figures that Dame Muriel pushes around her chessboard for a while. Until she can't be bothered anymore. The mystery is why she bothered at all. Surely she didn't need the money, and why would she choose to have this piece of mincingly clever dreck be her last ...more
William Dale
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Muriel Spark's "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" which was written earlier in her long career. This was her last novel written two years before her death. While not as deep and detailed as "Jean Brodie", I found this to be a fun, frisky read. The contentious relationship between writers who none the less feed off each other was great fun to see. Overall, not her best but I really liked it!
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I like Muriel Spark, I found this one lacking. It was certainly the thinnest of her books I've read; the page margins seemed much larger than an inch. I found the plot--Rowland, medium-skanky teacher "trying" to finish his "novel", is stupefyingly jealous of his prolific student, Chris--to be underdeveloped and not very interesting. The additional characters--rich, stupid students, Rowland's wife Nina, and a selection of servants who seem to be there only to illustrate class divisions-- ...more
Rowland and Nina Mahler both run College Sunshine, a travelling finishing school for the young and wealthy. Richard, who is trying to finish (and start) his novel, becomes obsessed with Chris, a 17-year-old student, whose own vaguely historical novel is showing far more progress and has attracted the attention of publishers. Stuff happens, though not much. Muriel Spark's last novel, already quite slender, is also rather thin, story-wise, and even flatter, when it comes to characters. But the lib ...more
Oct 12, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although a short book, it took me two days to read as I was not particularly drawn in by either the plot or the characters. While the novel was set in the present time, I did not feel like the author was able to recreate today's teens. They felt like kids back in the 50's to me.Naive, willing students, deferential to the adults. While there was some interesting tension between Rowland, a creative writing teacher, and Chris, his star pupil, it wasn't enough to carry the story.
This was kind of creepy and odd and I kind of liked it. It was written very objectively, in that there's almost zero emotion to be found in this book, despite it being about jealousy, loyalty and love. I liked Nina best of all (especially her lessons, which were fantastic), but felt that even though this was clearly set now, with all of the laptops and faxes, the characters felt like they belonged in the past - hippies, maybe? That could be part of the distance the reader has from all the charac ...more
I was disappointed with this book. I've read severalother of Spark's books and liked them but this was boring. The plot failed to interest, the characters seem contrived. I don't think I'd even have forced myself to finish if this had been an unknown author.

I see from other reviews it wasn't just me. This was her last novel written when she was in her 80's.
Sara Williams
Book #2 of a 24h marathon on the 26th of April 2015

The book revolves around a small finishing school run by a married couple (who happen to be oblivious to this fact). There is a 17year old boy named Chris who is writing an exceptional novel and Mr. Rowland tends to get so jealous of this kid's ability to be sucessful that he is fine to go to great lenghts to stop him.
That's it. That's the story. 160 pages of pure bluntness. I wonder what went through Spark's head while publishing this because I
Sep 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a strange little book. Parts of it were funny and held my attention, but there were too many characters for so few words, and I wasn't sure if this was supposed to be pure satire, or if there were deeper messages behind the story. There were some confusing sections, which may have been editing mistakes, where dialogue actually didn't make sense (was I missing something?) This actually sums up how I felt reading the book - that I was missing something. But somehow despite my reservations ...more
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Anemic little book. I felt at first like whole paragraphs were missing and as it progressed like whole chapters were missing. Some snappy writing here and there with interesting observations but little else. No real sense of time and place. Could be 1960 could be 2005 except for allusions to emails. Actually the whole thing is like an allusion to a real novel.
For me, this was reminiscent of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie only in that it took place at a school. In comparison, The Finishing School's characters are paper-thin, and although I occasionally found it amusing, I never found it absorbing.
breezy and swift, though aside from its ascerbic humor it had lacked gravity. The Finishing School was a Murdochian sketch pushed forward slightly into realization. The time twisted totems of education and affection pull up short of Don't Stand So Close To Me.
Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A quick read, so worth a shot. Personally, the characters and the plot fell very flat - I found myself bored with everything that was going on. the characters were difficult to relate to, with very little emotional attachment assigned to anybody. I found this book was coldly written, more expositional than anything else.
“You begin,” he said, “by setting your scene. You have to see your scene, either in reality or in imagination. For instance, from here you can see across the lake. But on a day like this you can’t see across the lake, it’s too misty. You can’t see the other side.” Rowland took off his reading glasses to stare at his creative writing class whose parents’ money was being thus spent: two boys and three girls around sixteen to seventeen years of age, some more, some a little less. “So,” he said, “yo ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A small school relocates in Switzerland with its pupils and teachers. There is a fierce competition between one of the owners, a would be novelist, and one of the students, who is writing a historic novel about Mary Queen of Scots. The other owner offers special, short sessions of useless information. Sardonic and short, this was a fun read, but the story falls apart at the end.

"In case you are thinking of getting a job at the United Nations," Nina told them, "I have picked up a bit of informati
Jan 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick but still enthralling read. Muriel Sparks captures the intensity and jealousy between student and teacher like no other writer I've encountered. Her school environments exist entirely in the grey zones of what is and isn't deemed appropriate.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is still her most successful exploration of the strange, precocious relationships that develop between student and mentor. It sets an incredibly high bar. The Finishing School is a solid book. If it were written by anoth
I like Muriel Spark's quirky outlook and, after completing an earlier book, felt that "more was more" and the more I read the more I enjoyed her writing. But, this book set me off that course.

Instead of finding the situation and characters off-beat in THE FINISHING SCHOOL, I found them unsettling. Although this is a short book, I allowed myself to set the book aside, rather than running right through it. Spark is no doubt very gifted at setting a mood, but the mood is precisely what put me off.
Kirsty Darbyshire
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book
Little more than a short story really. And while short stories have a habit of driving me bananas, possibly because they tend to come in books containing one good yarn and ten substandard ones, I enjoyed this standalone one. It's about the symbiotic relationship between aspiring novelist Rowland, currently running a anachronistic kind of modern day co-educational finishing school, and his student Chris, an actually-getting-on-with-it novelist, with a cast of other odd characters getting in the w ...more
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not recommended
Shelves: 0-hard-copy, w-mcl, 2014
2 1/2 stars

This was a bizarre little book. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what to think. It certainly was different, with a unique and interesting premise.


But different doesn’t necessarily equate to better. Sometimes different is just different. I was left feeling very dissatisfied, and would not recommend the book to any of my friends.
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was odd. I admit I mostly bought this book because it was set in Switzerland (Ouchy in Lausanne - I've been there!), but I expected more from the blurb. Despite the laptops and mobile phones, it felt like this book was set in the past... are there really still finishing school these days? And I couldn't engage with any of the characters. Most of them were just boring, except maybe Nina. Two stars, because I didn't actually hate it...
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This is a delicious story about a man that wants to be a successful writer; and a kid that is his student and is a very talented writer. The teacher starts feeling jealous of his student's talent; and soon becomes obsessed with him. In the end; nothing is what it looks like; and the story is so well written that one can read it in no time and ask oneself how can a 86 year old writer be so fresh and juvenile in her texts.
Jan 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is absurd.

The characters are ridiculous and the story seems to completely follow the author's whim, and not the actual story.

I am without words. I don't understand.
At this point I believe I am the problem. I can't see the artistry of the book. It's my fault.

This book is so bad, I became passive aggressive.
What an odd, disjointed sort of novel. Written I think when Muriel Spark was in her 80s, it feels a lot like notes taken for a novel, which is in fact what one character does in the story. There are lots of little tangents and peripheral characters, all of which is interesting but kind of superficial. I did like it though.
Apr 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty awful but as usual I finished it just so that I could be sure. I felt like I was a publisher or a literary agent reading a really crappy submission from someone who just wanted very badly to finish writing a damn novel.
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2005, audiobook, fiction, 2012
Muriel Spark wows me every time. Hooray for writers like her! The story is masterful, and oh, so subtle. If no one's planning a movie for this one yet, they definitely should.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-gave-up-on
Maybe another time. This time it didn't get me.
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting quick read-I like her characters.
What I liked about this story the most is that it has a creative writing theme. Chris subject of his story was about Mary Queen of Scots. This is Muriel Sparks contribution to world literature.
Simon Harrison
Reads in parts like a parody of Spark, and completely falls apart in the last third.
Paola Calvetti
Un romanzo "a secco", non commuove, non "muove" nulla. Se non l'ammirazione per una scrittura puntuta, essenziale. Il tema - l'invidia - poteva essere svolto meglio.
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Dame Muriel Spark, DBE 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. In 2008 The Times newspaper named Spark in its list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Spark received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1965 for The Mandelbaum Gate, the Ingersoll Foundation TS Eli
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