Deb's Reviews > The Finishing School

The Finishing School by Muriel Spark
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's review
Sep 07, 2011

liked it

The Finishing School of the title is College Sunrise, a small, unconventional, and borderline disreputable school run by aspiring novelist Rowland Mahler and his wife Nina. Their star pupil is Chris Wiley, a self-confident 17-year-old who is writing a historical novel about Mary Queen of Scots. Rowland, who is suffering from writer's block, reads bits of Chris's novel and finds it alarmingly good. Sexual and professional jealousy spur Rowland to the brink of a nervous breakdown.

This novella is short and certainly not sweet; it is mostly tartly funny. It's a slight piece of work; the characters other than Rowland and Chris are thinly sketched, but the good writing and the narrator's biting authorial asides make for very good entertainment. I've never read Muriel Spark, and I'll certainly read her again.

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