Lovely and Savage: Muriel Spark’s ‘Girls of Slender Means’

Muriel Spark on personal morality after social crisis

Editor’s note: Madeleine Kearns writes a weekly column noting peculiar aspects of cultural, artistic, and natural marvels.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE ‘W rite about what you know” is advice sometimes given to writers. Muriel Spark, who knew about being a young woman, and about post-war Britain, heeded that instruction at age 45 when she wrote The Girls of Slender Means. Her short novel tells the story of some young women living in an Edwardian manor turned residency for under 30s, “the May of Teck Club,” in old Kensington, just after the Second World War. “Few people alive at the time,” Spark writes, “were more delightful, more ingenious,


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