Introduced by A. L. Kennedy
Illustrated by Lyndon Hayes
Inspired by Spark's life during the Second World War, this exceptionally well-crafted, ironic and deeply funny novel effortlessly captures the austere mood of post-war London.
‘One of this century’s finest creators of the comic metaphysical entertainment’‘Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions.’ The war is over, but London has yet to recover. Amid the bombed-out ruins of Kensington stands the May of Teck Club, founded for ‘the Pecuniary Convenience and Social Protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thirty Years’. In and out of the club run the girls, their heads full of ‘love and money’, bartering clothing coupons for margarine and sharing the same Schiaparelli dress. But a tragic and violent accident will expose the savagery beneath the surface of their genteel existence.
‘This is an uncompromisingly well-crafted book: lean, ironic, funny, penetrating, unsettling and very, very beautiful’Muriel Spark was one of the greatest writers of her generation, renowned for the sly humour, startling power and economy of her prose. The Girls of Slender Means (1963) was inspired by the Helena Club, where Spark lived during the Second World War. She effortlessly captures both the mood of post-war London and the inner existence of a host of individuals: Jane Wright, who does ‘brain-work’ for an unscrupulous publisher; the mad Pauline Fox, who pretends to be dating a famous actor; and Nicholas Farringdon, the anarchic poet, destined to be killed in Haiti as a missionary. This edition is illustrated by Lyndon Hayes, a leading Folio artist with an impeccable grasp of the period and the nuances of the book. We have commissioned an introduction from award-winning Scottish novelist A. L. Kennedy. It is a sparkling work of prose in itself, as well as being a tribute to a great writer: ‘Welcome to the English language as operated by an expert.’
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