newgen books for YA readers
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

This edition has not yet been published

If available, why not choose another format from the 'Other Formats' box on the right.

The Hothouse by the East River by Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin

Lovereading view...

‘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. ~


The Hothouse by the East River by Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin

The Hothouse by the East River, Muriel Spark's twelfth novel, was first published in 1973.

During World War II, Elsa and Paul were involved in secret propaganda work in England. It is now 1973 and they are living in New York. Elsa is convinced that a German ex-POW - and former lover - who has appeared in New York, may be planning to kill them. And what's more, her shadow is pointing in the wrong direction: to the East.

This is one of the 22 novels written by Muriel Spark in her lifetime. All are being published by Polygon in hardback Centenary Editions between November 2017 and September 2018.


Praise for Muriel Spark;

A profoundly serious comic writer whose wit advances, never undermines or diminishes, her ideas New York Times Book Review

A wholly original presence in modern literature -- Andrew Motion

She has a receptive and wholly distinctive genius -- A N Wilson Spectator

The care with which she uses words is matched by a gloriously carefree attitude. It's all part of her sanity, her breezy authorial self-confidence; and because of this I think that reading a blast of her prose every morning is a far more restorative way to start a day than a shot of espresso Daily Telegraph

I am dazzled by The Bachelors. It is the cleverest and most elegant of all Mrs Spark's clever and elegant books -- Evelyn Waugh

My admiration for Spark's contribution to world literature knows no bounds. She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the creme de la creme -- Ian Rankin

Muriel Spark's novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards, decisive as a smashed glass is decisive -- John Updike New Yorker

Spark is a natural, a paradigm of that rare sort of artist from whom work of the highest quality flows as elementally as current through a circuit New Yorker

About the Author

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.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

10th May 2018


Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin

More books by Muriel Spark, Ian Rankin
Author 'Like for Like'


Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


144 pages


Literary Fiction
Action Adventure / Spy
Muriel Spark 100

Crime & mystery
Historical fiction
Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
Fiction & related items



Hooked on books? Give Lovereading a go - for the chance to discover brilliant books, and to see why our members love it so.

Claire Hill

I love that Lovereading handpicks very special debut reads.

Magda North

I love the newsletter with reviews of all the new books coming out. Can't wait to open it when it arrives in my inbox.

Rachel Aygin

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

It gives a chance to read about new titles, invites comments from all kinds of readers and is run by such a nice bunch of book lovers.

Joy Bosworth

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

Lovereading takes the guesswork out of finding your next read with "if you like you'll love" and extracts to help with your decision.

Sarah Bruch