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The Comforters (VMC) Paperback – 6 Aug 2009

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Virago (6 Aug. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844085538
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844085538
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Brilliantly original and fascinating (Evelyn Waugh)

A master of malice and mayhem (Michiko Katutani, NEW YORK TIMES)

Book Description

Muriel Spark's stunning debut novel

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By emma who reads a lot TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been reading my way through all of Muriel Spark, finding that there is enormous variation between the ones I like and the ones that make me raise an eyebrow and go, "errr...?"

This is one of the latter, a very strange book, which is reminiscent to me of one of the darkest Ealing comedies. A granny who smuggle diamonds in bread (yes, I did keep thinking of Alec Guiness in drag), an assortment of odd people, and most of all the weird Caroline Rose who keeps hearing voices which indicate she knows the novel is being written about her.

At this point, we are suddenly into fiercely post-modern, self-aware, Italo Calvino territory. You may really enjoy it, I found it off-puttingly strange. And I do enjoy a lot of post-modern fiction, but this is such a weird mix of that and a rather English comic novel. Anyway, she was clearly defiantly trying to do something new, from her very first publication, and that I really admire. Even when you are not enjoying her books, there is that strength and intelligence in them which you cannot help but revere.
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Format: Paperback
I was in the mood for some Spark's writing and knew that I'd probably like this book. While I wasn't immediately drawn in, the story grow on me the more I read and I ended up enjoying the book more than I thought I would!

It was a slightly absurd, enjoyable read with a dash of metafiction. As Spark did in her story 'The Driver's Seat' (which I'd highly recommend if you haven't read any of her work before), traditionally heavy topics - here of Catholicism and mental illness - are handled with a light, humorous touch. While the plot was surreal, the characterisations and social interactions often made me smile to myself as I recognised the people and situations in my own life. A touch of mystery, romance and mystical elements made for an enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
Strange little book with a totally silly plot: Caroline, a recent convert to Catholicism, has started hearing voices and a 'ghost typewriter'.
Meanwhile her (Job's) comforters have their own preoccupations: boyfriend Laurence is investigating his grandmother who is part of a diamond smuggling gang. (Grandmother Louisa is undoubtedly the best drawn character in the book- half gipsy with her Bulgarian cigarettes and taste for cooking offal.)
His mother is only interested in Catholic charity work, even towards the objectionable Mrs Hogg whom Caroline so dislikes. And her friend the Baron is obsessed with black magic...
Spark's poetic writing shines through: I loved such phrases as 'Louisa sat beside the wireless cuddled in the entranced carcass of Laurence's voice'.
And I found Ali Smith's introduction most enlightening to read when I'd finished the book. But I was glad to get to the end!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting plot but this book was overall very disappointing.the characters were at best stereotypes not fully developed, I had to keep looking back to clarify who was who, some characters didn't have a clear role in the story, The writing style was awkward and repatitve
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