Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Go-Away Bird and Other Stories by Muriel Spark

Details: First published 1958; cover shown is the 1963 Penguin Books (UK) paperback edition (No. 1912). Cover art by Terence Greer. 189p.

Blurb: "Before she began to pour out her startling spate of novels, Muriel Spark was best known as a writer of short stories and criticism. The eleven stories in this collection demonstrate the strength and quality of her work.

Rejection is the theme of the title story. Daphne, a South African orphan, comes to Europe, which for years has been the glowing subject of her dreams: but reality shatters her illusions and she returns to the Cape to fulfil her role in a horrific drama. At the climax of the story, which often cloaks despair in irony and humour, she exclaims, 'God help me. Life is unbearable.'

Several of these stories take place in South Africa and some employ supernatural devices. 'The Black Madonna', on the other hand, is a searing exposure of high-minded insincerity on the question of race and colour."

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