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The Bachelors (New Directions Classics)by Muriel Spark
Synopses & Reviews
"Daylight was appearing over London, the great city of bachelors. Half-print bottles of milk began to be stood at the doorsteps of houses containing single apartments from Hampstead Heath to Greenwich Park, from Wanstead Flats to Putney Heath; but especially in Hampstead, especially in Kensington".<P>So begins Muriel Spark's supreme 1960 novel The Bachelors. Our very British bachelors come in every stripe: a barrister, a British councilman, a detective, a very curious "priest", a hand-writing expert, a terrifyingly blank spiritual medium, and a guilt-torn good Irish Catholic boy who chews onions to inhibit any success with the opposite sex.<P>Though we first find them contentedly chatting in clubs and shopping at Fortnum's, their cozy bachelor world is not set to stay cozy for long. Soon enough, the men are variously, individually tormented — defrauded or stolen from; blackmailed or pressed to attend horrid seances — until, finally, they realize they are about to be plunged, all together, into the nastiest of lawsuits. At the center of that lawsuit, about to face the dock as well as the prospect of unwanted fatherhood, hovers pale Patrick Seton, the medium. Meanwhile, horrors of every size descend upon our poor bachelors — from the rising price of frozen peas ("Your hand's never out of your pocket") to epileptic fits, musings about murder, and spiritualist mouths foaming with protoplasm. And every horror delights: each is limned by Spark's uncanny wit — at once surreal, malicious, funny, and ultimately serious. The Bachelors presents "the most gifted and innovative British novelist" (The New York Times) at her wicked best.
A barrister, a "priest," a detective, a lovelorn Irishman, a handwriting expert, a heinous spiritual medium — the very British bachelors of Spark's novel come in every stripe
First found contentedly chatting in their London clubs and shopping at Fortnum's, the cozy bachelors (as any Spark reader might guess) are not set to stay cozy for long. Soon enough, the men are variously tormented — defrauded or stolen from; blackmailed or pressed to attend horrid séances — and then plunged, all together, into the nastiest of lawsuits. At the center of that suit hovers pale, blank Patrick Seton, the medium. Meanwhile, horrors of every size plague the poor bachelors — from the rising price of frozen peas ("Your hand's never out of your pocket") to epileptic fits, forgeries, spiritualists foaming with protoplasm, and murder. And every horror delights: each is lit up by Spark's uncanny wit — at once malicious, funny, and deadly serious. shows "the most gifted and innovative British novelist" () at her wicked best.
About the Author
Muriel Spark (1918-2006) is the author of dozens of novels including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Memento Mori, A Far Cry from Kensington, The Girls of Slender Means, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, The Driver's Seat, Not to Disturb, and many more. She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.
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