One October evening five posh London couples gather for a dinner party, enjoying "the pheasant (flambe in cognac as it is)" and waiting for the imminent arrival of the late-coming guest Hilda Damien, who has been unavoidably detained due to the fact that she is being murdered at this very moment
Symposium was applauded by Time magazine for the "sinister elegance" of Muriel Spark's "medium of light but lethal comedy." Mixed in are a Monet, a mad uncle, some unconventional nuns, and a burglary ring run by a rent-a-butler. Symposium stars a perfectly evil young woman (a classic sweet-faced hair-raising Sparkian horror) who has married rich Hilda's son by hook or by crook, hooking him at the fruit counter of Harrod's. There is also spiritual conversationand the Bordeaux is superb. "The prevailing mood is urbane: the wine is poured, the talk continues, and all the time the ice on which the protagonists' world rests is being thinned from beneath, by boiling emotions and ugly motives .No living writer handles the tension between formality of expression and subversiveness of thought more elegantly." (The Independent on Sunday).
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Review: SymposiumUser Review - John Frankham - Goodreads
A splendidly quirky Muriel Spark novel, starting as an ordinary plot of five quasi-couples at a dinner party, with flash-backs. It then takes off to involve past deaths/murders, madness, and so on. Can't say any more. It's sense of humour reminds me of Evelyn Waugh. Brilliant. Read full review
Review: SymposiumUser Review - Grace Lovelace - Goodreads
When I first read this novel 20 years ago, it was too cynical for me. But rereading it now, it seems perfect. Read full review
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Symposium - Boek - BESLIST.nl
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SYMPOSIUM - SPARK, MURIEL - VIRAGO PRESS
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