Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918. A poet, essayist, biographer and novelist, she won much international praise, including being twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Times placed her eighth in its list of the Fifty Greatest British Writers Since 1945. She died in Tuscany in 2006. Ian Rankin graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1982. His novel, The Flood, was published in 1986. A year later came Knots & Crosses, his first novel to feature the detective John Rebus. The bestselling Rebus series has been translated into twenty-two languages and adapted for television.
‘As early as 1965, Muriel Spark had a title in mind for a new book. That title was Hothouse East River. The novel itself, however, would not appear until 1973, much changed from its original incarnation, as Spark herself would confide during a 1970 interview with the Guardian newspaper: ‘I’m so interested in the present tense that I’ve redone a book I’ve been working on for three years, “The Hot House by the East River”, and put it all in the present tense.’ … the novel she would eventually pen about New York would be one of her strangest, most jarring works, painting an unflattering portrait of the city’s wealthier denizens and their spiritually empty lives…I wonder what Spark would do with the world of 2017 and 2018; I wish she were around to answer that…The Hothouse by the East River is as strange and dislocating as anything Muriel Spark wrote, a book absolutely right for its period and setting. She saw through the Manhattan social scene and discovered an Unreal City. She had journeyed a long way from childhood Edinburgh and wartime England, but she had more travelling still to do.’ From the Introduction by Ian Rankin This is one novel in the absolutely glorious, must-have, complete collection of all 22 novels by Muriel Spark. This series is a wonderful way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Muriel Spark’s birth. Edited by Alan Taylor, author of Appointment In Arezzo, A Friendship with Muriel Spark, each perfectly sized and beautiful hardback book is introduced by a leading writer. Each introduction, while individually touching on thoughts and feelings, mentions the originality, the wit and humour, the cleverness of the writing. Whether an existing fan, or new to her works, this collection from one of our greatest writers, beckons, and quite simply, just asks to be read and re-read. ~ Lovereading.co.uk
'The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the creme de la creme.' Ian Rankin One October evening five London couples gather for a dinner party, enjoying 'the pheasant (flambe in cognac as it is)' and waiting for the imminent arrival of the late-coming guest Hilda Damien, who has been unavoidably detained due to the fact that she is being murdered at this very moment. With an introduction by Ian Rankin. Symposium is Muriel Spark - one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century and author of classics including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - at her wicked best. 'A rich, heady, disturbing brew.' Lorna Sage 'Extremely clever and highly entertaining.' Penelope Lively 'Stiletto-sharp fiction.' Alan Taylor, Scotland on Sunday