The Girls of Slender Means

The Girls of Slender Means Long ago in all the nice people in England were poor allowing for exceptions The war is over but London has yet to recover Amid the bombed out ruins of Kensington stands the May of Teck Club f

  • Title: The Girls of Slender Means
  • Author: Muriel Spark Lyndon Hayes A.L. Kennedy
  • ISBN: -
  • Page: 354
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions The war is over, but London has yet to recover Amid the bombed out ruins of Kensington stands the May of Teck Club, founded for the Pecuniary Convenience and Social Protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thirty Years In and out of the club run the girls, their heads fulLong ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions The war is over, but London has yet to recover Amid the bombed out ruins of Kensington stands the May of Teck Club, founded for the Pecuniary Convenience and Social Protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thirty Years In and out of the club run the girls, their heads full of love and money , bartering clothing coupons for margarine and sharing the same Schiaparelli dress But a tragic and violent accident will expose the savagery beneath the surface of their genteel existence.

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    About "Muriel Spark Lyndon Hayes A.L. Kennedy"

    1. Muriel Spark Lyndon Hayes A.L. Kennedy

      Dame Muriel Spark, DBE was a prolific Scottish novelist, short story writer, and poet whose darkly comedic voice made her one of the most distinctive writers of the twentieth century In 2008 The Times newspaper named Spark in its list of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 Spark received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1965 for The Mandelbaum Gate, the Ingersoll Foundation TS Eliot Award in 1992 and the David Cohen Prize in 1997 She became Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993, in recognition of her services to literature She has been twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, in 1969 for The Public Image and in 1981 for Loitering with Intent In 1998, she was awarded the Golden PEN Award by English PEN for a Lifetime s Distinguished Service to Literature In 2010, Spark was shortlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize of 1970 for The Driver s Seat.Spark received eight honorary doctorates in her lifetime These included a Doctor of the University degree Honoris causa from her alma mater, Heriot Watt University in 1995 a Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris causa from the American University of Paris in 2005 and Honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from the Universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, London, Oxford, St Andrews and Strathclyde.Spark grew up in Edinburgh and worked as a department store secretary, writer for trade magazines, and literary editor before publishing her first novel, The Comforters, in 1957 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, published in 1961, and considered her masterpiece, was made into a stage play, a TV series, and a film.

    717 thoughts on “The Girls of Slender Means”

    1. “Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions.”After a glorious first sentence like that, how could Mrs Spark fail to deliver her usual sparkling cocktail of absurd every-day business, chaotic lifestyles and abrupt drama? Her story is set in the direct aftermath of the Second World War, allowing for exceptions. It concerns the lives of a charming set of young and not so young ladies living together in a building in London which has survived the bombing, [...]

    2. Spark at her best; acerbic, bitingly funny, satirical, unsettling, great use of language, numerous interesting and well-crafted characters, layers of meaning and it captures a moment of social history to boot. It captures the brief period of 1945 between VE day and VJ day, a period of three to four months. The novel (well novella really) centres on the May of Teck Club in Kensington. The club is“for the Pecuniary Convenience and Social Protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thi [...]

    3. You know how it is with a Murial Spark book, you start off reading ' oh this is so witty, my fingers are getting singed from her sparky humour' that you don't notice her sliding the knife in until she chooses to twist it.I am a little in awe of her restraint, having spent a week reading one book then I breeze through this - if you started after lunch you need not fear being late to dinner. She's an awfully economical writer, the references to ration books and calorie counting could well apply to [...]

    4. What an odd story. What an odd composition.Told mostly in flashbacks, The Girls of Slender Means tells of a group of girls who share lodgings at a home for women under 30 who have limited means of income. The story is mostly set during the summer of 1945 - between the end of the war in Europe and in the Far East. As a snap-shot of the time that the story is set in, this books works wonderfully well. Spark had a gift for preserving details in the pages of her books that other authors may have hav [...]

    5. ' Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions'.As with every Spark novel, it is the exceptions which make all the difference. This is a great novel. All Sparkian life is here. Odd characters, noble losers, tragic deaths and sinister naughtiness. The eponymous girls live in the May of Teck club; An up-market boarding house for young women too poor to thrive in flats by themselves, too refined to slum it and with a couple of our 'heroines', one too selfless t [...]

    6. This is quintessential Spark. Though there's no teacher-figure (only a few impotent spinsters), the action is set in a young women's lodging house that feels like a boarding school a la The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. In the future of the main action, there are telephone calls informing of a death that reminded me of Memento Mori. Spark's snideness, sarcasm, black humor and wit are here, including observations on religion and sex, related in innuendos and also bluntly. Repetition and a circling a [...]

    7. A stirring, beautiful novel that's deceptively short and light, and starts with what is now one of my favorite opening paragraphs in all literature:"Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions. The streets of the cities were lined with buildings in bad repair or in no repair at all, bomb-sites piled with stony rubble, houses like giant teeth in which decay had been drilled out, leaving only the cavity. Some bomb-ripped buildings looked like the ruins of anc [...]

    8. This tiny feather-light novel is like a love-song to a very specific time, April to July 1945, and place, London, a girls' hostel, located just behind Kensington Gardens, such that you can see the Albert Memorial if you shove your head out of one of the third floor windows and crane your neck. So there's all these girls, thrown around by the war, that's why they're in a hostel, working for some ministry or another probably, all poor, mostly middle-class, one of whom is - well, fast, and also the [...]

    9. Review for this book can be written in many ways. It would all depend on the aspect that the reader tries to focus on. Otherwise, it is a typical Spark - witty, satiric and completely engaging.I was very much struck by the theme of Faith and Conversion in this novel. As you all must be aware, most of Spark's novels deal with Catholicism/Christian faith. It is not very conspicuous but each novel in one way or other puts forward a opinion of Spark on religion. In fact, a person can very well miss [...]

    10. It's the summer of 1945 and there is or isn't an unexploded bomb in the garden of the May of Teck Club, a rooming house for girls of slender means. Jane is in love with the anarchist poet Nick Farrington, or not, but of course he (as an anarchist poet) is hapless in every way and ends up sleeping with hot asshole Selena Redwood on the roof. How does she get on the roof, you ask. It doesn't matter how he gets on the roof but it matters how she does. There's a very narrow window. Only the girls wi [...]

    11. Haven’t read Muriel Spark? Read her.This novella is about a handful of girls residing at the May of Teck Club, a boarding-house "for the Pecuniary Convenience and Social Protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thirty Years, who are obliged to reside apart from their Families in order to follow an Occupation in London". We follow the girls, their work and their beaux. “Slender Means” signifies the girls’ financial standing, their prospects and plans for the future and, hope [...]

    12. This book really grew on me. Spark's deceptively cool tone lulled me into an early misperception that nothing was going on in this almost-post-war-Britain tale. Plus the sixties-style verbs used to describe women as 'chattering', 'twittering' and 'gobbling' made me uncomfortable. And then there was protagonist, the mercurial Jane whose affectation of describing her menial job as 'brain work' & her constant striving to "feed my brain" without becoming fat on wartime rations was, to be honest, [...]

    13. A frothy black-comic novella about a group of young ladies living and loving in Londony until it hits you that, no, it's more: it's a retelling of the Gospels inside a girls dorm. Spark couldn't have been more blatant: the [Spoiler Alert] one girl that perishes in the housefire - the one who remains the most selflessly calm, recites scripture and measures the hips of herself and her thirteen trapped companions - was named Joanna Childe. And from there I'm not really going out on a limb to sugges [...]

    14. از خودم شرمنده ام برای کتابی هزینه و وقت گذاشتم که صفحاتش پر بود از کلمات پیردختر و ترشیده، کاش انتشارات نگاه در چاپ چنین ترجمه هایی کمی دقت به خرج می داد.

    15. It’s 1945 and the time between the two armistices of the war and in the Mary of Teck Club, a glorified hostel for girls of slender means in Kensington, a well-flagged tragedy is waiting to strike. Just as in ‘The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie’ Sparks captures perfectly a world of women filled with malice and fast friendships with her delicious, trademark wit. Typically this involves a non-linear story, Sparks’ expertise with analepsis and prolepsis and deceptively shallow portrayals of her c [...]

    16. London, just after the second world war. Basic necessities are scarce, food and clothes are being rationed. Somewhere in the city there is an old residential building turned into a dormitory which was spared from the Nazi bombings. Here is found the May of Teck Club and its first of the Rules of Constitution explains what it is:"The May of Teck Club exists for the Pecuniary Convenience and Social protection of Ladies of Slender Means below the age of Thirty Years, who are obliged to reside apart [...]

    17. Having enjoyed "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" immensely many years ago, I was delighted when this Spark novel/la was chosen for the December book group meeting. Unfortunately, having finished reading it today, it left me cold, sometimes I was plain bored and at other times I didn't understand what was going on because of the switching back between 1945 and some time in the early 60s. There were way too many quotations, poems etc for my liking, and they distracted from what little plot there was [...]

    18. I recently read this author's "Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" and I liked it so much (4-star rating) I was eager to read more by Muriel Spark. To me, this short book, more novella than novel, feels like a snapshot of a certain time and of a certain group of people. Granted, it's a good snapshot, a very clear and distinct one, but it's like being at a photography exhibit: I'm ready to move on to the next photograph, and when I leave the exhibit, "The Girls of Slender Means" will have left a rather sm [...]

    19. I am slightly disappointed with the girls of slender means….The scene for the novel is set brilliantly by the following: ”Long ago in 1945 all the nice people in England were poor, allowing for exceptions” and who wouldn’t be charmed by that? Specially followed by description of the efter-war London with bomb-ripped buildings that looked like ruins of ancient castles and this matter of fact statement: ”There was absolutely no point in feeling depressed about the scene, it would have be [...]

    20. I can always count on Muriel Spark to cheer me up. "Comic-metaphysical entertainment" indeed. I have now read seven novels by this Scottish born writer and have only scratched the surface of her work. She wrote 24 of them before she died in 2006 at 88 years of age.These mildly impoverished female survivors of WWII live in an old boarding house in London, surrounded by bomb wreckage. Ages vary and even within the building there is a class hierarchy because it is, after all, Great Britain in the p [...]

    21. Ugh, I love Muriel. She has a fantastic way of casually making serious young men look utterly ridiculous.

    22. I feel a crush coming on. Muriel Spark, or her spirit, and I are about to become very good friends. I've just finished "The Girls of Slender Means", having read it at leisure, but with great care and tremendous pleasure. What a joy it is, and how renewing, to be reminded that the short, perfectly constructed novel can satisfy so fully. Although slender in size, this small book--in comparison to today's overly-wrought and often boringly-padded fiction-- is rich in sardonic observation, fulsome in [...]

    23. London, in 1945, the summer after the end of the war. Spark focuses on a group of young women that are trying to make the best of it, both in everyday's life (everything is rationed) and in the battle for a man. They live in a house for "underprivileged" girls, to be understood in several senses. This short story meanders back and forth several times between 1945 and a not determined later period (early 60s?). As always Spark is incredibly accurate in her drawing, but to my feeling much harder, [...]

    24. Un libro corto y sin argumento que se me hizo bastante largo. Mi primer acercamiento a Muriel Spark no ha sido muy bueno, espero elegir mejor la próxima vez.

    25. A gem of a novel. Satirical and tragic in parts. The novella story is told by flashback to 1945. It is set in a young woman’s hostel and there lives in 1945 just before the war ended. Sparks has captured the era beautifully with actual events woven into the narrative. The end of the war, rationing, labour winning the election and the amusing escapades of the ladies of slender means. Especially the Schiaparelli dress!The story revolves around Jane who writes fake letters to get famous authors a [...]

    26. Last year I read and really enjoyed Muriel Spark’s 1959 novel Memento Mori, a darkly comic exploration of ageing and mortality. In the hope of building on this positive experience, I recently turned to another of her early works, the wonderfully titled The Girls of Slender Means. Luckily for me, it turned out to be a great success. It’s a mercurial novel. Deceptively light at first sight, there are some genuine elements of darkness lurking just beneath the surface, all of which come together [...]

    27. Like most people, I count this as one of Spark's best. The narrative goes back and forth between the present, i.e. the early '60s, and the past, a period of a few months in the Spring and Summer of 1945. It starts with fat Jane making a series of phone calls to various former friends and associates in order to find out what they remember of Nicholas Farringdon, a writer with anarchist leanings she found fascinating, back in 1945. Jane has just found out that Nicholas, who had become a missionary [...]

    28. What happens when girls of slender means get in a tight spot? At first I was hesitant and thought Muriel Sparks was narrating in a chatty Brit Aunt style, which I dislike. However, as I read on, I found I enjoyed her darker/cynical comments and found the atmosphere humorous. Especially with the first scenes about the window and found it quite amusing and loved the play on words with the title being used. It was a somber turn of events that altered my mood. It was also two shocking incidences of [...]

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