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Memento Mori by Muriel Spark - Book Group discussion thread

8 watchers
Jul 2018
10:13pm, 25 Jul 2018
23995 posts
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I liked it. I struggled to get into it, but I think that was me and not the book. I kept forgetting who was who, but I read it all before bed and I'm constantly knackered. After about a quarter I started to enjoy it quite a lot and work out what was going on. I quite liked the meditations on death and ageing, and I very much liked the Taylor character. Alec Warner was good fun, too.

I didn't enjoy it nearly so much as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which I remember finding funny, sad, and really thought-provoking. Perhaps I'm old and cynical. A good read, though.
Jul 2018
10:20pm, 25 Jul 2018
23996 posts
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I'm so glad it wasn't just me who couldn't keep up with the characters! Phew.

I also thought the phone calls were just a device to demonstrate the character's reactions. It was clear that they were not one person, and I very quickly lost interest in who/what they were (a good thing).
Jul 2018
5:57pm, 26 Jul 2018
16054 posts
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Agreed, Linds. About the phone calls. Glad you quite enjoyed it in the end.
Jul 2018
7:43pm, 31 Jul 2018
8687 posts
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Little Nemo
Posting this before reading the thread.

I found this a "middling" book. It wasn't bad, wasn't brilliant but it's not going to make a lasting impression on me. I had great hopes at the beginning with its sly humour but it seemed to fizzle away half-way through. Maybe there were too many characters that I couldn't quite keep track of. Has it aged badly? Maybe it seemed more biting when it was first published?

On the plus side it was easy to read, did make me smile wryly a couple of times and didn't last longer than it should. The bits I liked the most were the scenes in the hospital with The Grannies. I can't imagine things are done that way anymore so I found these parts interesting. Also Jean seemed the most sympathetic character.

I didn't find any similarities of style between this and The Prime of Jean Brodie, I was surprised that they were by the same author.

I've given this book a 6.
Jul 2018
7:53pm, 31 Jul 2018
8688 posts
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Little Nemo
I liked your review Columba, even if I didn't enjoy the book as much as you! Nice to see a different perspective on it :-)
Sep 2018
8:21am, 2 Sep 2018
8688 posts
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I’ve not read back
I actually enjoyed this - easy read, finished in a day, the phone conceit didn’t stand up to much scrutiny, and I won’t remember one character from another in a months time but i still enjoyed the one upmanship on relative rates of decay in the reverse race to death

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