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The Girls of Slender Means (New Directions Classic) Paperback – April 17, 1998
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Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
a few of the girls stand out, but their tales are so intermingled, & their lives so distantly described that i had a hard time caring. but as a fan of muriel spark's work, i kept at it, and was well paid off by the poignant & shocking ending.
spark did quite the job of showing the reader wartime london- with its' almost purposeful frivolities, willfullness to get on, and its' crushing realities.
i recommend it to fans of her work. i suggest starting with the 'prime of miss jean brodie' if you've had no prior introduction.
This book is written in many characters points of view, and at first I had trouble keeping up with who was who. The book also jumps from past to present, and it takes a second to figure out which year you are in. The ending of this book was a little shocking, which makes it worth reading. This is a very short novel; however the writing style makes it a little harder to read. Muriel Spark throws in poetry at random places, and repeats it over and over (one of the girls is teaching elocution), which seems to halt the story as much as her jumping from viewpoint and time period.
I wouldn't really recommend this book to anyone, but I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it either. I don't regret reading this book, but I definitely won't read it again.
Please see more of my reviews at [...]
This book, it seemed as I read, wanted me to think it frivolous. Oh, what a cute, slim little thing, chronicling the lives and loves of “the girls of slender means,” living under one roof in the bombed-out London of 1945! But there’s something deceptively clever and meaningful about focusing on the worries of teens and 20-somethings between WWII victories over Germany and Japan (cosmetic care being thwarted by rations, the importance of preserving one Schiaparelli dress, passed around among the entire May of Teck Club, one’s elocution, mastering the art of poetry recitation, etc.). Bigger things are going on internationally, and yet the very appeal of these girls is their relative indifference, innocence and general carefree attitude toward the “bigger things.” In this specific time and place, the girls of slender means are fascinating and mysterious to the men who visit them (Nicholas' imagination is possessed by a "poetic image" of them), when they could just as easily seem ordinary, petty, dumb, or heartless in the wrong time and place, in a time and place when war hasn't ravaged a city and people aren't hankering for a return to a simpler, more frivolous, life. As a social commentary on the values of a post-war society, this book is astute.
And then there are sudden dark moments. The possibility of an undetonated bomb sitting just outside the club is a reminder of how precarious post-war life can be, how any measure of lightheartedness floats dangerously at the edge of destruction. Spark ends the book with a scene of shocking violence, totally unexpected and unexplained, and it feels so well placed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Muriel Spark's short 1963 novel The Girls of Slender Means offers both a philosophical punch and a wonderful description of life in England just as the Second World War was coming... Read morePublished 18 months ago by M. Buzalka
Probably like most people here I've come to this book having first read Muriel Spark's wonderful "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Amazonerguy
I've always wanted to read this author and this is my first book of hers. I wasn't overly impressed, found it slow going for the majority. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Nicola Mansfield
A slender book, but deft and haunting. A feminist goodread.Published 22 months ago by E. Jane Hedley
This is a short work, and as others have already mentioned, Spark crams a lot of different characters into it. Read morePublished on January 23, 2014 by Clare
Lightweight and boring besides. What was the point of this novel? I always expect Spark to do better. Don't understand why her reputation is so high. Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by Evalyn F. Segal
Wonderful work from another time....London WW II. A slice of how women faired during the difficult time leading up to the war.Published on November 22, 2013 by davidson