W.W. Norton, $35, 656 pp.
Muriel Spark died in Italy in 2006 at the age of eighty-eight. Her gravestone in a small Tuscan cemetery describes her simply as “Muriel Spark, Poeta.” She did indeed begin her literary career as a poet, and she continued to write poetry throughout her life, though her reputation rests on the twenty-two novels she published between The Comforters in 1957 and The Finishing School in 2004.
Spark did not regard writing fiction as an activity fundamentally different from...
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