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Territorial Rights [Paperback]

Muriel Spark
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Jun 1991
Robert arrives in Venice leaving the manipulative and wealthy Curran, his family and the Romanian emigre Anna behind. He soon discovers, however, that they have followed him and are all staying in the Pensione Sofia hotel, which harbours a dark secret involving blackmail, murder and intrigue.


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (27 Jun 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140145575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140145571
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,088,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Witty yet elegant, Territorial Rights is a celebration of human imperfection and complexity, with as many shifting identities, wardrobe changes, and sumptuous settings as a comic opera. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . my admiration for Spark's contribution to literature knows no bounds' Ian Rankin

Robert wants nothing more than to become a serious art historian. But his hopes for an academic life are put on hold when he flees from London to Venice to escape one lover and seek out another: the enigmatic Bulgarian refugee Lina Pancev. In the baffling maze of canals and winding streets where reality shifts and changes like reflections on water, Robert encounters a grand carnival of lust, lies, blackmail, cocktail parties and regicide. As he chases Lina, his heart's desire, the city provides a priceless education in love, art and beauty.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'TELL ME NOT HERE, IT NEEDS NOT SAYING... 8 Dec 2013
By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
...what tune the enchantress plays'. This is my ninth Muriel Spark novel since I opened the score 50 years ago with The Ballad of Peckham Rye. She was an enchantress then, and she is an enchantress still. Territorial Rights is one of her best. It is set in Venice, something that just on its own will get many a reader on the author's side right away, particularly a reader who knows Venice at first hand. You will probably expect to find quite a variety of actors in a plot set there, but I defy any reader not to be dazzled by Muriel Spark's harlequinade of semi-puppets, not really oddballs for the most part, just taken from a wide selection of different backgrounds. Probably most of us do not encounter, say, gangsters or anti-Semitic Eastern European refugees (the book's date is 1979) in our everyday lives, but we know perfectly well that we are probably not far from them wherever we live.

And of course this is not documentary but fiction - fiction by the great Muriel Spark. One very amusing feature of this story is the way Spark lets us know that she knows how good she is. One of the characters is reading a novel, of a kind she often reads, and several quotations are provided from it. I don't know whether it is a real book or an invention of Muriel Spark's, but these snippets have the idiom off to a t, one way or the other. It's the sort of stuff that has put me off novels all my life - the totally uninteresting relationships of people I don't want to know about. I even feared in the early stages of Territorial Rights that Mrs Spark might be going down that gloomy path herself. I should have known better, and the plot gets more interesting chapter after chapter.

The style is beautiful, as always.
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By MHW
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Still relevant. A superb piece of social history - with laughs!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Territorial Rights 8 May 2011
By Linda Hepner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This novel by the brilliant stylist Muriel Spark made me laugh increasingly as I read. Deftly drawn characters, intrigue, comedic situations and delightful insights into Venice. While the wife sulks at home, her husband, son, best friend and a host of other linked personalities converge and interfere with the situation. A delightful, deceptively light touch that pleases like Mozart.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another page-turner from Spark 6 Oct 2011
By Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This particular novel by the amazing Muriel Spark is hard to find, but worth finding. It has her trademarks of twisted plotting and ever-deepening complications, along with her mordant wit. This one's especially modern in its concerns.
5.0 out of 5 stars 'TELL ME NOT HERE, IT NEEDS NOT SAYING... 8 Dec 2013
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
...what tune the enchantress plays'. This is my ninth Muriel Spark novel since I opened the score 50 years ago with The Ballad of Peckham Rye. She was an enchantress then, and she is an enchantress still. Territorial Rights is one of her best. It is set in Venice, something that just on its own will get many a reader on the author's side right away, particularly a reader who knows Venice at first hand. You will probably expect to find quite a variety of actors in a plot set there, but I defy any reader not to be dazzled by Muriel Spark's harlequinade of semi-puppets, not really oddballs for the most part, just taken from a wide selection of different backgrounds. Probably most of us do not encounter, say, gangsters or anti-Semitic Eastern European refugees (the book's date is 1979) in our everyday lives, but we know perfectly well that we are probably not far from them wherever we live.

And of course this is not documentary but fiction - fiction by the great Muriel Spark. One very amusing feature of this story is the way Spark lets us know that she knows how good she is. One of the characters is reading a novel, of a kind she often reads, and several quotations are provided from it. I don't know whether it is a real book or an invention of Muriel Spark's, but these snippets have the idiom off to a t, one way or the other. It's the sort of stuff that has put me off novels all my life - the totally uninteresting relationships of people I don't want to know about. I even feared in the early stages of Territorial Rights that Mrs Spark might be going down that gloomy path herself. I should have known better, and the plot gets more interesting chapter after chapter.

The style is beautiful, as always. It's light and graceful, avoiding the curse of the otiose adjectives that sink so many novels. Nothing in this book is exactly fey or irrational, like Georgina Hogg in The Comforters, who has no private life and disappears when she closes her room door behind her; or like the shadow falling in the wrong direction in The Hothouse by the East River. That would have been over the top in this context. So would death in Venice have been. Life in Venice can be fantastic enough.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amusing but so what? 18 Dec 2013
By Evalyn F. Segal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I keep trying to understand why Muriel Spark is considered an important - or at least estimable - writer. She writes black comedies which are amusing but leave me, at the end, feeling, so what?
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