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Extended Audio Sample Loitering with Intent Audiobook, by Muriel Spark Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 53.97 out of 5 3.97 (29 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Muriel Spark Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2005 ISBN: 9781455179282
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“How wonderful to be an artist and a woman in the twentieth century,” Fleur Talbot rejoices. Loitering about London in 1949, with intent to gather material for her writing, Fleur finds a job “on the grubby edge of the literary world,” as secretary to the odd Autobiographical Association. Are they a group of mad egomaniacs, hilariously writing their memoirs in advance—or poor fools ensnared by a blackmailer? Rich material, in any case.

But when its pompous director, Sir Quentin, steals the manuscript of Fleur’s new novel, fiction begins to appropriate life. The association’s members begin to act out scenes exactly as Fleur herself had already written them in her missing manuscript. And as they meet darkly funny, pre-visioned fates, where does art start or reality end?

This novel is Muriel Spark in prime form, one of her most enjoyable, complex, and instructive jeux d’esprit.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I read this book in a delirium of delight. In Loitering with Intent, Miss Spark returns to the early flawless form of Memento Mori and The Comforters…robust and full-bodied, a wise and mature work, and a brilliantly mischievous one.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “One of Spark’s very best novels—funny and clever and surprising.”

    New Republic

  • “A delicious conundrum.”

    New Statesman

  • “Generating hilarious turns of phrase and larger-than-life characters…Spark’s inimitable style make this literary joyride thoroughly appealing.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Spark’s involved plots, unhurried pace, and willingness to poke at the intricate eccentricities of human behavior are well served by [Wanda McCaddon’s] reading. [McCaddon] easily manages the story’s complex, numerous strands…It’s a credit to [McCaddon] that we can keep track of the wealth of personality and detail Spark offers.”

    AudioFile

  • A 1981 Man Booker Prize Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sadie | 2/11/2014

    " This book is absurd, exquisite and hilarious. That is all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessie | 1/25/2014

    " Very postmodern, life imitating art imitating life. One is not too entirety trusting of the "author"'s version of events, where a demonic charismatic, figure dominates the lives of some unsuspecting fools. Laughable farce. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roko | 1/15/2014

    " This is an enjoyable book, but it feels slight. It's short, and kind of a comedy, so it's not the kind of book you can really get your teeth into, but one where you can feel like the writer is having fun with the book and with the reader. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary Lou | 1/13/2014

    " When this came up in my recommendations I realised I had already read it some years ago. Classic book- much of the meaning probably lost on me. Must read again "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nora Wright | 1/13/2014

    " Recommended long ago by my older brother, Walter Wright. Great, funny, and revealing about Spark's relationship to the writing process (the sub-plot of this fictional, short novel). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 DL | 12/30/2013

    " My love for Muriel Spark's writing grows and grows. I love this book. It's witty, clever, suspenseful, and hilarious, all in a perfectly new way. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Daniel | 12/28/2013

    " Slooooow. The big drama was when the narrator's manuscript was stolen! But she stole it back! And then she got famous! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Preeta | 12/8/2013

    " We listened to this on tape; I might've liked it better if I'd read it. It was a bit hard to follow, as I recall, because of a plot-within-a-plot that gets strangely complicated. It also wasn't as funny as other Muriel Spark novels I'd read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ross | 11/11/2013

    " A cross between Graham Greene and Philip K Dick, and written with more confidence and competence than either of them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Lavelle | 9/24/2013

    " Again, thank you, Queen "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucía | 8/25/2013

    " Muy disfrutable y repleto de frases para resaltar. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tina H. | 6/11/2013

    " I cannot pinpoint what it is I like about Muriel Spark's writing, but I do:complex characters who cannot be labeled; murky morality; wit and sarcasm intertwined...humor that is almost (but not quite) macabre. Brilliant. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben Loory | 4/12/2013

    " once more, muriel spark makes me laugh really hard and then wonder if she's coming after me with an axe. not quite as good as The Driver's Seat, i don't think, but equally enjoyable (if more baffling). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kate | 4/5/2013

    " I found myself thinking "Eh, so what?" through most of this book. The protagonist is a little to self-absorbed and lame for me to follow through hundreds of pages of boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carla | 12/18/2011

    " One of my favorite books, at least of the Spark novels that I've read in the past few years. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 John Mccullough | 12/14/2011

    " Another great Muriel Spark novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 11/21/2011

    " I go back and forth between 3 and 4 stars....at times "brilliant" ran through my mind....at others I was confused enough to forget who exactly each character was...but could've been because I read on and off over a week or two. Great premise, though! Funny, wicked funny at times. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trishv Valenteen | 10/9/2011

    " Interesting plot with a narrator who is not entirely likable, at least to me. She's a writer who takes a job with an eccentric businessman to archive the autobiographies of an array of Londoners. She's got a slightly inflated sense of self, which skews her description of the events. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aaron Guest | 9/8/2011

    " Delightful little book. Slightly uneven in its purpose, but solid panoply of vivid characters and narrative and use of dialogue. I enjoyed Spark's protagonist and her spunky voice. Not a grand book or one that shatters a convention, but one that succeeds in being a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rosemary | 8/25/2011

    " This is a sly, witty book for writers who use the material around them--and it's all material. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley Lucas | 5/28/2011

    " So funny! The main character is a secretary for an autobiographical society, and she helps them invent and embellish the stories of their lives. Sparks is incredibly witty. A quick read and lots of fun. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenny | 5/26/2011

    " A story about a woman who writes a story that gets stolen and then people start living it without her permission. Strange and quirky. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Willie | 5/6/2011

    " my first encounter with the shadow occurred after reading this book "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacqueline | 2/2/2011

    " She just gets better and better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Trishv | 1/2/2011

    " Interesting plot with a narrator who is not entirely likable, at least to me. She's a writer who takes a job with an eccentric businessman to archive the autobiographies of an array of Londoners. She's got a slightly inflated sense of self, which skews her description of the events. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Roko | 10/10/2010

    " This is an enjoyable book, but it feels slight. It's short, and kind of a comedy, so it's not the kind of book you can really get your teeth into, but one where you can feel like the writer is having fun with the book and with the reader. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sonja | 10/16/2009

    " I read about this book in another book so I ordered it. It was OK - kind of funny - but not what I expected from this author because I had heard that The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was really good. Maybe I should have ordered that one instead. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashley | 7/16/2009

    " So funny! The main character is a secretary for an autobiographical society, and she helps them invent and embellish the stories of their lives. Sparks is incredibly witty. A quick read and lots of fun. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nora | 7/6/2009

    " Recommended long ago by my older brother, Walter Wright. Great, funny, and revealing about Spark's relationship to the writing process (the sub-plot of this fictional, short novel). "

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About the Author
Author Muriel Spark

Muriel Spark (1918–2006) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was the author of over twenty novels, including The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, as well as critical biographies, radio plays, children’s books, poetry, and short-story collections. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1993 and a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 1996.

About the Narrator

Wanda McCaddon (a.k.a. Nadia May or Donada Peters) has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audiobook publishers, has earned numerous Earphones Awards, and was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine.