The Girl I Left Behind Me by Muriel Spark
The Girl I Left Behind Me is the story of a girl who leaves her home to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. However, when she reaches her destination, she realizes that the life she had expected to live is not going to be as fulfilling as she hoped. Despite this disappointment, she decides to continue her pursuit of her dreams. But before she can do that, she must learn to trust her own abilities.
Muriel Spark is a Scottish novelist and essayist who has received numerous awards. She was also an award-winning poet. Her works include children’s books and radio plays. A major part of her fiction involves the manipulation of female characters.
Muriel Spark began writing seriously after World War II. She started her career as a short story writer, winning the Observer’s short story competition in 1951. Later, she became a literary critic and poet.
When she was young, she developed a keen interest in the ballads of her ancestors. In her early short stories, she explored the themes of childhood and childhood fears. For instance, she likened her lover to a leopard.
Another example is the story ‘The go-away bird’. It illustrates how individual struggles can be summed up in one word.
Some of Spark’s early short stories involve a lot of supernatural events, a theme which is frequently used in her later novels. Other stories explore the effects of childishness on adults.
One of her longest stories is “The go-away bird”. It tells the story of a woman and her murder.
Other early Spark stories feature crime and ghosts. They are a good illustration of the creative approach Spark took to her work.
A number of these stories were republished in various magazines. ‘The end of summer time’ was published in three different magazines in 1965. The following year, ‘Winter’s tales 11’ appeared in ‘The Spectator’.
Spark was also an editor. She was the only woman to hold the position of editor at Poetry Review. She was also a fan of American soap operas. Soap operas, in particular, gave her a lot of material.
The Girl I Left Behind Me by Muriel Spark is a novel written by the Scottish writer. It was published in 1957. The story is set in the United Kingdom and Africa. In the story, a young girl searches for her identity and safety.
Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1918. She was raised in a Jewish and Gentile family. She went to school in Scotland, then spent several years in Africa. Her stories are often set in Africa, particularly in British colonies.
“The Go-Away Bird” is one of Spark’s longest stories. It deals with a coloured woman’s murder. One of the main characters, Mrs Cloote, is a native of Somerset, England. Mrs Cloote has a delusional, morally challenged personality.
The story’s haunting, supernatural setting and sharp turns of action illustrate Spark’s gifts in miniature. Throughout the story, there are gaps that allow the reader to fill in the details.
Despite its flaws, this book offers an intriguing analysis of the life and work of the prolific author. Bailey offers a new perspective on Spark’s writing and composition processes. Using a plethora of archival material, including unpublished poetry, he explores Spark’s work at the narrative level.
While Bailey’s approach is interesting and original, his approach also exacerbates the central problem with the Early Fiction. For starters, the text is framed too heavily. This results in a lot of conspicuous similarities. However, he does uncover real-life antecedents to the violent Spark plots. He also ties formal experimentation back to the conclusion of Spark’s critique of gender roles.
Ultimately, Bailey’s approach is a welcome break from the common image of Muriel Spark. She does a great job of combating the caricature of Spark as cruel, and her central idea, though a bit simplistic, helps to re-emphasize a central problem with the early fiction.
Love-hate relationship with Africa
During her life, Joan Spark exhibited a love-hate relationship with Africa. She was raised in Scotland but lived in Africa when she was a young child. Her time in Africa deeply affected her writing.
Some of her early poems were influenced by her African experiences. Her Curriculum Vitae includes anecdotes about prejudice in Africa. But she was also fascinated by the continent, observing the rain forest and Zambesi.
During her sojourn, she met the poet and editor Howard Sergeant. He is described as a wild, savage character. His savage power and strange energies influenced the development of her novel, “The Seraph and the Zambesi”.
In Spark’s earliest published works, she made no bones about critiquing colonial discourse. Her best short stories feature an African theme. And she sprinkled her writing with racist epithets.
She also wrote an autobiographical essay, “Wonders of the Zambesi”, that’s been widely credited as the first autobiographical travelogue written by an African American. It’s a fine example of how an artist uses an experience in a country to write about the world.
The fact that she also wrote about Africa in the book she titled, “The Seraph and the Zambesi,” shows that she was fascinated by the continent.
In the novel, the Zambesi River is a nebulous entity that’s charged with both love and hate. The writer likens it to a leopard, a savage deer or a moon.
While the author’s description of the Zambesi is ecstatic, her description of the rain forest isn’t. Still, she was curious to see what her experiences in Africa could teach her about writing.
For her centenary, the National Library of Scotland has opened up an exhibition that will showcase aspects of Spark’s sojourn in Africa. The exhibition will also include an annotated edition of her books, with a particular focus on her African writings.
Characters in stories
The characters in stories by Muriel Spark are often very strong. Often, these characters are able to overcome a difficult situation and free themselves from their former influences. They can also learn from their mistakes and move from passive to active.
Several of the stories by Muriel Spark deal with the struggles of middle class young people. This includes the tensions between religious institutions. Some of these novels, like the ones about the White colonists in South Africa, are considered postmodern gothic.
Another theme in many of the novels by Muriel Spark is Catholicism. While this might seem a bit odd at first, the novel “The Hothouse by the East River” and the novella “The Comforters” show the authors’ talents in black humor.
Spark’s writing is thought provoking. She is an adept storyteller. Her witty novels expose the petty foibles of the characters. It is not uncommon for a character to stage mutinies.
Aside from the novels, she also wrote a number of short stories. These are often narrated in the first person.
Most of her stories are set in England or Europe. However, she has a knack for writing stories set in Africa. One of the longest stories she has written is titled “The Go-Away Bird”. In this tale, a woman is murdered.
“Bang-Bang You’re Dead” is another one of her stories. It is narrated by a childhood friend.
Spark’s novels are characterized by their leanness. They are reminiscent of comic book characters.
Spark’s writing is also characterized by a strong sense of moral truth. Often, she is compared to Evelyn Waugh. Both women are praised for their ability to tell a good story.
Influence of Africa on Spark’s work
Muriel Spark was an accomplished writer of fiction, poetry, and criticism. She was born in Scotland in 1918. Her family included gentiles and Jews, and her mother was quarter Jewish. In addition to being a literary icon, Spark was also a member of the Scottish Communist Party.
One of her first published works was a short story entitled “The Seraph and the Zambesi.” It was inspired by her visit to Victoria Falls.
The story is a parable of individual struggles. Daphne, a young woman, tries to make sense of her place in the world.
The African experience gave Spark the chance to see a different side of humanity. She learned that the world of casual cruelty was real. She saw that colonists could be mean and murderous. This knowledge was important in fostering a deeper understanding of history.
Muriel Spark’s time in Africa influenced her writing in many ways. Her work often deals with the taint of childhood. For instance, in the novel “The Twins,” the seemingly polite children are cruelly controlling adults.
Her stories also reflect a moral truth. The narrative voice of her tales is often distant. As a result, readers are forced to evaluate the characters’ motives and intentions.
In addition to her writing, Spark was also a critic of the British colonial past. This was evident in her early poems. But her greatest successes came in the short fiction that she wrote. Some of her best pieces deal with issues related to slavery, colonialism, and racism.
Her writing about Africa reveals her keen sense of the linguistic landscape. Her characters’ use of racist epithets is a bit shocking, but these terms were a part of the language.