'Remember you must die.'Dame Lettie Colston is the first of her circle to receive insinuating anonymous phone calls. Neither she, nor her friends, wish to be reminded of their mortality, and their geriatric feathers are thoroughly ruffled. As the caller's activities become more widespread, old secrets are dusted off, exposing post and present duplicities, self-deception and blackmail. Nobody is above suspicion.Witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the more.Books included in the VMC 40th anniversary series include: Frost in May by Antonia White; The Collected Stories of Grace Paley; Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault; The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter; The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann; Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith; The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West; Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston; Heartburn by Nora Ephron; The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy; Memento Mori by Muriel Spark; A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor; and Faces in the Water by Janet Frame
A brilliant and singularly gruesome achchievement * Evelyn Waugh * This funny and macabre book has delighted me as much as any novel that I have read since the war * Graham Greene * I am reading a trio of novels by Muriel Spark, a marvelously witty English writer, one of the few lady writers I like to read. Her best, I think, is Memento Mori, which is chillingly brilliant * Tennessee Williams * There is a Waugh-like brilliance to this novel, in the easy economical narrative, the continuous invention producing a series of surprises, the well-cut dialogue, the controlled tone. This last is the most remarkable of Miss Spark's achievements. Nothing is forced, least of all the humour * V. S. Naipaul, NEW STATESMAN * Spark is a writer who can take the meditative and make it mercurially funny, playful and mischievious -- Ali Smith The greatest Scottish novelist of modern times . . . My admiration for Spark's contribution to world literature knows no bounds. She was peerless, sparkling, inventive and intelligent - the creme de la creme -- Ian Rankin I am reading a trio of novels by Muriel Spark, a marvellously witty English writer . . . Her best, I think, is Memento Mori, which is chillingly brilliant -- Tennessee Williams There is a Waugh-like brilliance to this novel, in the easy economical narrative, the continuous invention producing a series of surprises, the well-cut dialogue, the controlled tone . . . the most remarkable of Miss Spark's achievements. Nothing is forced, least of all the humour -- V. S. Naipaul
Muriel Spark, D.B.E, C. Litt, was born in Edinburgh in 1918. A poet and novelist, she also wrote children's books, radio plays, a comedy, 'Doctors of Philosophy', first performed in London in 1962, and biographies. She is best known for her stories and many successful novels, including Memento Mori, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Loitering With Intent, The Comforters, A Far Cry from Kensington and The Public Image. For her long career of literary achievement, Muriel Spark won international praise and many awards, including the David Cohen British Literature Award, the T. S. Eliot Award, the Saltire Prize, the Boccaccio Prize for European Literature, the Gold Pen Award and the Italia Prize for dramatic radio. Muriel Spark was given an honorary doctorate of Letters from a number of universities, London, Edinburgh and Oxford among these. She died in 2006.