The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-1963, london, britain-england, lit-richer, filthy-lucre, classic, books-about-books-and-book-shops, anarchy

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from December 15, 2014 to January 02, 2015

Description: Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions, begins The Girls of Slender Means, Dame Muriel Spark’s tragic and rapier-witted portrait of a London ladies’ hostel just emerging from the shadow of World War II. Like the May of Teck Club itself — three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit — its lady inhabitants do their best to act as if the world were back to normal: practicing elocution, and jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. The novel’s harrowing ending reveals that the girls’ giddy literary and amorous peregrinations are hiding some tragically painful War wounds. Chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the Best Modern Novels in The london Sunday Times Review, The Girls of Slender Means is a taut and eerily perfect novel by an author The New York Times has called one of this century’s finest creators of comic-metaphysical entertainment.

All the Nice People Were Poor: It is 1945, but life carries on as usual in the May of Teck Club.

This Marvellous Dress: During her ‘brain work’, Jane encounters writer and anarchist, Nicholas Farringdon, whose arrival at the May of Teck Club causes something of a stir.

It’s Just a Girls’ Hostel: Writer and would-be anarchist, Nicolas, becomes more and more intoxicated by the ‘girls of slender means’.

Let Them Enjoy Themselves while They’re Young: Greggie’s stories of unexploded bombs in the Club’s garden prove to hold some truth.

It Was All a Question of Time: As tragedy strikes the May of Teck Club, time is running out for some of the ‘girls of slender means’.


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