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Download The Girls of Slender Means Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Girls of Slender Means, by Muriel Spark Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,251 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Muriel Spark Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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“Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions…” Thus begins 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 building 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. But the novel’s harrowing ending reveals that the girls’ giddy literary and amorous peregrinations are hiding some tragically painful war wounds.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In a day when so many writers seem to write so much alike, it is a delight to discover one who writes like no one except herself. Muriel Spark, an aloof, sharp-eyed Scotswoman, is such a writer, and her most noticeable characteristics are, of course, her wit, her absolute pitch in dialogue, her economy of style and her sedulous avoidance of sentiment. These might add up to dryness, but in Miss Spark’s work, they do not. Her very skirting of the sensibilities is a sign of a how fully aware of them she is, as she proved especially in her unerring picture of the old in Memento Mori and as she now proves again in this story about the young, The Girls of Slender Means...those who seek new dimensions in their reading will find this to be Miss Spark’s most interesting piece of work.”

    New York Times

  • “Muriel Spark’s novels linger in the mind as brilliant shards, decisive as a smashed glass is decisive.”

    John Updike, New Yorker

  • “Spark, as usual, has perfectly plotted and peopled this giddy world of postwar delirium and girls’ dormitory life.”

    Library Journal

  • “Muriel Spark’s gift for characters and dialogue make this little book both satirical and compassionate in its vision…Entertaining and illuminating reading.”

    Sonja Larson, 500 Great Books by Women

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shelley | 2/7/2014

    " This was a really interesting book that I found myself thinking about for days after finishing it. There's a lot of quotes in here (poetry, bible, etc) that I think would have added to the story if I'd known context and such, although they didn't detract from the story at all. The flips between present (60s) and past ('45) weren't as clear as in Miss Brodie, but overall, it was really well done, the characters were engaging and layered and I enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Adina | 11/6/2013

    " Strange case of recognizing a good story but not enjoying it properly - the fragmentation of the novella did not go well with the fact that I mostly read it in 10-minutes sessions. Have not read much of Muriel Spark before this one, but I've remembered the mixture of cruelty and lightness. Liked the lightheaded way in which insight and pain make their way into what begins as a cutesy story about young women living by themselves and exchanging pretty dresses, disliked the superficiality with which Spark uses her characters' poverty. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Bill | 11/3/2013

    " I sincerely don't understand why I love British television so damned much but not so much their authors. Some kind of cognitive defect on my part, I guess. This book is supposed to be tragicomic genius. I only found it all right. Guess I need therapy, medication, surgery, or something. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Emily | 10/23/2013

    " I must be missing something crucial (perhaps back at the beginning?) because this book completely confused me. It was an interesting read, but I could never figure out where it was going, and the end made a left turn seemingly out of nowhere and fell off a cliff. I would love to have someone explain it to me. "

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