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Download The Girls of Slender Means (New Directions Classic) epub

by Muriel Spark

"Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions," begins The Girls of Slender Means, Dame Muriel Spark's tragic and rapier-witted portrait of a London ladies' hostel just emerging from the shadow of World War II.

Like the May of Teck Club itself―"three times window shattered since 1940 but never directly hit"―its lady inhabitants do their best to act as if the world were back to normal: practicing elocution, and jostling over suitors and a single Schiaparelli gown. The novel's harrowing ending reveals that the girls' giddy literary and amorous peregrinations are hiding some tragically painful war wounds. Chosen by Anthony Burgess as one of the Best Modern Novels in the Sunday Times of London, The Girls of Slender Means is a taut and eerily perfect novel by an author The New York Times has called "one of this century's finest creators of comic-metaphysical entertainment."
Download The Girls of Slender Means (New Directions Classic) epub
ISBN: 081121379X
ISBN13: 978-0811213790
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Muriel Spark
Language: English
Publisher: New Directions; Paper Only edition (April 17, 1998)
Pages: 140 pages
ePUB size: 1774 kb
FB2 size: 1447 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 827
Other Formats: azw docx doc txt

Probably like most people here I've come to this book having first read Muriel Spark's wonderful "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie." "The Girls of Slender Means" has the same wonderfully sharp prose, which alone makes the book worth reading.

Several people have commented that the beginning of the book is slow and that they were knocked out by the ending. I had the opposite reaction: the beginning, with its incredibly evocative portrait of London in 1945, fascinated me. The ending began to lose my interest a bit, though I can't reveal why without giving anything away.

Still, all told, a highly recommended work.

One word of caution, though: the Kindle edition is terrible, replete as it is with typos. I make a point when reading Kindle books to report content errors, and I had to do it dozens and dozens in this very short book. I hope New Directions makes the necessary corrections (some publishers seem to ignore them), because it was incredibly frustrating to run into mistakes page after page - really broke my reading flow.
This short novel set in London during and after the Second World War excels at creating interest without wasting words. It would be a good choice for a book club--there is so much to wonder and talk about. The Kindle Edition, unfortunately, is liberally sprinkled with typographical errors. It's pretty clear that no one proofread it.
fire dancer
Not my favorite Muriel Spark, I much preferred A Far Cry From Kensington. That said, the story stays with you, I pondered it for days, turning the characters over and over in my mind, what was it about, I feel as if I eventually figured it out. It is certainly well worth reading.
The Girls of Slender Means, are a group of girls that live in post-war London in 1945, and reside at the May of Teck Club, which is a hostel or group home. In the present, one of the characters, Jane Wright, who does "brain work" in the "world of books", is trying to contact all of the other girls who were in the May of Teck Club with her, to inform them of an event that takes place.
This book is written in many characters points of view, and at first I had trouble keeping up with who was who. The book also jumps from past to present, and it takes a second to figure out which year you are in. The ending of this book was a little shocking, which makes it worth reading. This is a very short novel; however the writing style makes it a little harder to read. Muriel Spark throws in poetry at random places, and repeats it over and over (one of the girls is teaching elocution), which seems to halt the story as much as her jumping from viewpoint and time period.

Overall opinion:

I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone, but I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it either. I don't regret reading this book, but I definitely won't read it again.

Please see more of my reviews at [...]
Amusing but lightweight story - nothing much to it.
I enjoyed settling down with this interesting vignette of the lives and times of a group of single women in a hostel in London in the spring of 1945. The war in Europe has ended, and these unconquerable gals have survived. They have lived through the blitz; survived on low rations; and have kept their social world going by sharing one fancy dress among themselves. Blaring radios, and shrieks of laughter permeate the old building that has been their home for the last several years. Their amorous adventures have been fleeting ones in accord with the uncertainties of a world at war. We are now seeing them all as the first days of the rest of their lives are about to begin.
Ah, but Ms. Spark is not telling us this story just to provide an evening's light entertainment. A tragedy occurs that once again points out the absurdity of war. It is sad that there has been no time in any of our lives when this message is obsolete. It's a short novel, almost a short story writ long, but it doesn't need to be any longer than it is. The author has taken just the amount of time she has needed to paint her colorful literary portrait...and then put a big smudge right in the middle of it.
Concise, funny, powerful story of very relatable and vivid young women. Highly recommend.
Loved it, but it was way to short. More like a novella.