The Comforters

The Comforters Caroline Rose is plagued by the tapping of typewriter keys and the strange detached narration of her every thought and action Caroline has an unusual problem she realises she is in a novel Her fellow

  • Title: The Comforters
  • Author: Muriel Spark
  • ISBN: 9780140019117
  • Page: 420
  • Format: None
  • The Comforters

    Caroline Rose is plagued by the tapping of typewriter keys and the strange, detached narration of her every thought and action Caroline has an unusual problem she realises she is in a novel Her fellow characters also seem deluded Laurence, her former lover, finds diamonds in a loaf of bread has his elderly grandmother hidden them there And Baron Stock, her booksellCaroline Rose is plagued by the tapping of typewriter keys and the strange, detached narration of her every thought and action Caroline has an unusual problem she realises she is in a novel Her fellow characters also seem deluded Laurence, her former lover, finds diamonds in a loaf of bread has his elderly grandmother hidden them there And Baron Stock, her bookseller friend, believes he is on the trail of England s leading Satanist.

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      Published :2018-010-03T19:09:15+00:00

    One thought on “The Comforters

    1. Jan-Maat

      True to the saying nomen est omen this is a sparky novel, unfortunately my senses have been blunted by reading The Secret, I suspect I need a diet of sensible non-fiction and fresh air to restore my reading sensibilities before I can appreciate Muriel Spark again. However I reassure you, gentle reader, that this is a comic novel. While I didn't fall off any chairs holding my aching ribs, my smile to page ratio seemed to be high (view spoiler)[although as with The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie this i [...]

    2. MJ Nicholls

      Spark’s debut is a sizzling multi-character romp with an unexpected metafictive subplot and an unexpected Grandma’s-smuggled-diamonds-into-loaves-of-bread subplot, amongst other sub and foreplots. Read the Ali Smith preface in this edition then find an edition with a less revolting cover to read the actual novel. The pace sags but the novel sings. Metafictioneers take note of this one: Spark predates Barth et al by a decade.

    3. Dhanaraj Rajan

      Another Muriel Spark novel. I had read already some five books by her. And she is one of my favourite writers. I knew what I expected when I began the novel and I was not disappointed. Only that I was surprised to find out in the curse of reading The Comforters was Spark's debut. When I learned that fact, few things easily fell into places. For instance, the themes of conversion (She became a Catholic in 1954) and writing a novel (a character in the novel, who is also meditating to write a novel [...]

    4. Justin Evans

      Meta-literary novels are boring (though not as boring as meta-filmic movies), and if they don't bore you by now (2012) well, you need to think about something else for a while. Which makes this novel particularly notable, since it is meta-literary and also not boring. It's not hard to work out why, though: Spark isn't out to subvert our expectations or undermine the authority of the Author or anything like that. Instead, she draws a wonderful analogy between faith in God and faith in art, and, t [...]

    5. Sunita

      My goodness, it's hard to believe this is a first novel, but then again it is Muriel Spark. It's experimental, funny, meta-fictional, autobiographical, and strange. And compelling; once I was caught up in it I kept reading.The book opens with Laurence and his grandmother Louisa, but the central character is really Caroline, Laurence's on-again, off-again fiancee. Caroline is hearing voices and having hallucinations which turn out to be a novel that is being written (by her, probably, or maybe by [...]

    6. Oodles

      Touted as an experimental novel, this book is replete with oddities. A gem-smuggling gang led by an elderly grandma, a young woman who hears the words we read on the page in her head and begins to believe she is a character in a novel, a nosy biddy-body who professes to be a devout Catholic while behaving in abominable behavior. Spark's first novel shows her to have a marvelous way with words - witness this sentence: "Louisa's mirth got the better of her and though her lips were shut she whinnie [...]

    7. Pamela

      Muriel Spark's debut novel is experimental and witty, an early example of meta fiction as Caroline Rose finds herself hearing the tapping of a typewriter and voices speaking the words of a novel that she then sets out to write. Caroline's ex-boyfriend Laurence is worried about his grandmother who appears to have become involved in a criminal gang. Their friend Baron Stock is showing an interest in demonology and the unpleasant Mrs Hogg appears to be keeping a close eye on them all.The novel has [...]

    8. Ali

      The Comforters was Muriel Spark’s first novel published when she was nearly forty, she had only begun writing seriously after the Second World War. Spark, had previously suffered from hallucinations, and she brings this experience and her recent conversion to Catholicism to her extraordinary debut. It is a debut that is remarkably assured, in this her first novel, Spark really has set out her stall, showing her readers that they are in the hands of a different kind of writer. While the book wa [...]

    9. Liz Mc2

      At first, I didn't know what to make of this book. At last, I didn't know what to make of it either, but I got hooked. Such great lines: "Caroline was an odd sort of Catholic, very little heart for it, all mind." (This is me if you sub in Anglican!)I found it tempting to read the meta-fiction as allegory, to try to make it into a convert's statement about faith and Authorship, but it slides away from any straightforward, totalizing interpretation, though it raises such questions. I loved the com [...]

    10. Roberta

      Il mio rapporto con Muriel Spark è altalenante, anche se positivo, dato che la considero un'autrice irrinunciabile, e i pochi passi falsi un piccolo scotto da pagare per i suoi libri migliori. The Comforters è uno di questi, incredibile considerando che si tratta del suo primo romanzo, un po' meno incredibile considerando che la Spark si dedicò alla prosa relativamente tardi nella vita (mai quanto Penelope Fitzgerald, certo). Si tratta di un libro piuttosto bizzarro: un romanzo metaletterario [...]

    11. John

      What a very strange book! I have not been able to locate much of a plot summary - and now I know why; it isn't really possible to do so easily. The best description I can manage would be a cross between P. G. Wodehouse and Brideshead Revisted. I enjoyed it as a farce, but if Spark had a "point", I fear it escaped me.

    12. Melissa

      I liked this book in that it was sometimes very dry and funny, sometimes quite shocking, and often made me feel like a complete idiot for not being sure about what was going on.

    13. dely

      In un gruppo di GR che frequento avevo sentito parlare molto bene di Muriel Spark e dei suoi libri, e quando ho visto che I consolatori era consigliato in Curarsi con i libri: Rimedi letterari per ogni malanno ho deciso di aggiungerlo nella lista dei libri da leggere. In Curarsi con i libri è consigliato per chi ha paura di perdere il lume della ragione e la lettura di questo libro dovrebbe aiutarci per evitare di finire in manicomio. Non credo di essere pazza e dubito che finirò in un manicom [...]

    14. Noriko

      This is a peculiar read - this is, I guess, all I can say to describe this Muriel Spark's debut novel at best , with my own words anyway. To be honest, I still haven't been able to figure out what exactly was going on in this book.There are a lot of side plots going and individual bit/plot is really intriguing, but it all felt kind of disjointed on the whole with the plots jumping all over the place, I just can't be 100% sure what I gather what it is about is absolutely right. That being said th [...]

    15. Maria Donovan

      First published in 1957, The Comforters is essential reading. I had no idea that Muriel Spark was so inventive until I heard about this novel in which a woman is haunted by the sound of someone typing, and a voice echoing, so it seems at first, the story of her life. It isn't altogether a surprise that Muriel Spark's first novel should also be about writing a novel; it's a theme that develops from the inside out. Partly this is like an Ealing comedy and partly it's a mix of the very ordinary wit [...]

    16. Isabel (kittiwake)

      'The decor of Brompton Oratory makes me ill,' she told him, as another excuse. For when he had met her after the Mass she had turned most sour.'You don't refer to the "decor" of a church,' he said - 'at least, I think not.''What is it then?''I'm not sure of the correct term. I've never heard it called a "decor".''Very useful, your having been brought up a Catholic,' said Caroline. 'Converts can always rely on your kind for instruction in the non-essentials.'

    17. Mo

      Wonderful. Inventive. The book encapsulates the idea and the practise of religion in a manner as far from a gritty reality novel as is possible. Bravo Muriel Spark.

    18. Charlizechat

      Like the first novels of many prolific writers, "The Comforters" is both like and rather unlike the writing that most typifies the image of Muriel Spark. This novel contains much of the mischievous behavior and wicked absurdity that her novels are famous for and, like a number of her fictions, it seems to skate precipitously near the abyss. Yet it also feels unlike her most famous books: somewhat 'talkier' for one; but, perhaps more pressingly, it's more transparent about Spark's Catholicism tha [...]

    19. Kim Fay

      I am madly in love with Muriel Spark. I have been reading her since my early 20s. And so it was much to my surprise when I realized that I had not read her first novel. That happens sometimes. I save a book for a treat to be devoured at a much needed time, and then forget that I saved it. But lucky me now that I am no longer in my 20s! Because Spark is a master storyteller. She is genius, and she is talent. In this smart, fearless first novel she tells one story and numerous stories all at the s [...]

    20. Niffer

      I felt completely different about this book during the first couple of chapters than I do now. I think it's because it felt a little laborious and erratic at first, and had it continued in that way I probably would have had trouble enjoying it. For me it was a book about the process of writing a book, the slightly vague messy ideas you begin with, the part about the hospital not being part of the story because the author doesn't know anything about them really made me laugh, and then the seeming [...]

    21. Karen

      The Comforters was Muriel Spark's first novel. She went on to write a further 21, gaining a reputation for blending wit and humour within darker themes of evil and suffering.It contains two broad plot lines.Once concerns the suspicions of Laurence Manders that his elderly grandmother Louisa Jepp is heavily involved in a diamond-smuggling operation. The other focuses on his on-off girlfriend Caroline Rose,  a writer who is a recent convert to Catholicism. While working on a book about 20th-cent [...]

    22. Lisa Guidarini

      What an odd novel, The Comforters - meant in the very best way. The cast of characters is outrageously eccentric, putting it mildly, the plot points funny to the point of slapstick.There's a converted Catholic writer (Caroline Rose) who hears her thoughts spoken out loud, accompanied by the sound of a typewriter - an unseen writer composing the actual novel we're reading, as we're reading it, whom only Caroline can hear; a sweet, unassuming grandmother engaged in a diamond smuggling trade and he [...]

    23. Chrystyna

      The Comforters by Muriel Spark - confusing but goodThis is the first novel she published and the first I should have read for #readingMuriel2018 Whether it matters that I read the first two back to front, I don't know. Maybe. Certainly I enjoyed Robinson more.This is a very strange little book peopled by some very bizarre characters. It has a surreal feel in places which is probably explained by the fact that Muriel Spark was taking Dexedrine as an appetite suppressant during this time and was s [...]

    24. Matt Holsman

      This is a good first novel from Muriel Spark. I thought, being written in the 1950s, it'd be fairly dated and hard to read but boy was I wrong!This novel is funny, creepy and entertaining. The characters are far from the strongest I've read about, but grandmother Louisa Jepp has to be amongst my favourite, the others pale in comparison to her. She carries the novel for sure.Out of the two plots, I do feel like the more disturbing one, a character hearing voices, starts out comedic but fails to r [...]

    25. Elaine

      I began reading this clever and quirky novel with enthusiasm, but about one third of the way through, my interest began to lag, but nevertheless I am glad I finished it. For a first novel, it was definitely well written. I think now I will move on to what are considered Spark's best novels: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961); The Girls of Slender Means (1963); The Driver's Seat (1970); Loitering With Intent (1981); A Far Cry from Kensington (1988)

    26. SA_Aslam_

      I liked the premise and most of the characters except Laurence who was irritating. I need to read the book again especially as I put it down twice which didn't help me focus. I felt that there was too much dialogue.

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