In mid-twentieth-century London, aspiring young writer Fleur Talbot becomes secretary to a motley group of egoists who are composing their memoirs in advance and uncovers material enough for any novelist, but is perplexed by the familiarity of their lives. Reprint.
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: "How wonderful to be an artist and a woman in the twentieth century", Fleur Talbot rejoices. Happily loitering about London, c. 1949, with intent to gather material for her writing, Fleur finds a job "on the grubby edge of the literary world", as secretary to the peculiar Autobiographical Association. Mad egomaniacs, hilariously writing their memoirs in advance -- or poor fools ensnared by a blackmailer? Rich material, in any case. But when its pompous director, Sir Quentin Oliver, steals the manuscript of Fleur's new novel, fiction begins to appropriate life. The association's members begin to act out scenes exactly as Fleur herself has already written them in her missing manuscript. And as they meet darkly funny, pre-visioned fates, where does art start or reality end? Reviews - From Publishers Weekly - "Art, reality and the strange ways the two imitate one another are at the core of Muriel Spark's delightful Loitering with Intent, first published in 1981. Would-be novelist Fleur Talbot works for the snooty, irascible Sir Quentin Oliver at the Autobiographical Association, whose members are all at work on their memoirs. When her employer gets his hands on Fleur's novel-in-progress, mayhem ensues when its scenes begin coming true. Generating hilarious turns of phrase and larger-than-life characters (especially Sir Quentin's batty mother), Sparks's inimitable style make this literary joyride thoroughly appealing." "A delicious conundrum." -- The New Statesman "Generating hilarious turns of phrase and larger-than-life characters...Spark's inimitable style make this literary joyride thoroughly appealing." -- Publishers Weekly, 18 June 2001 "I found it a delight from start to finishâfunny, unexpected and compulsively readable...this strange, immensely enjoyable novel." -- Auberon Waugh, Daily Mail "One of Spark's very best novelsâfunny and clever and surprising." -- The New