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Still in her prime

Muriel Spark has been writing superior fiction for 40 years. Malcolm Bradbury pays tribute and says her latest novel shows she has not lost her touch

In the 1950s and early 1960s, Britain saw a great flourishing of new novelists: William Golding, Angus Wilson, Kingsley Amis, Iris Murdoch, Anthony Burgess, Doris Lessing, John Fowles and more. One of the more unusual was Muriel Spark. Born Muriel Camberg in Edinburgh in 1918, she was that not-too-common figure, a Jewish (rather, half Jewish) Scot. She grew up in that Calvinist city around its fine Walter Scott memorial, became a youthful poet, then fled to Africa and a short-lived marriage. She came back near the war’s end and was engaged to work in black propaganda: ideal training for the…

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