‘Few people alive at the time were more delightful, more ingenuous, more movingly lovely, and as it might happen, more savage than the girls of slender means.’
Emilia Fox reads Muriel Spark’s rapier-witted portrait of the lives and loves of a group of genteel but down-at-heel young women in postwar London. In the so-called May of Teck Club, a boarding house for single ladies, life carries on as if the world were back to normal: elocution lessons, poetry recitals, jostling over suitors and the sharing of a single taffeta gown. But the war has ended and things are not normal and never again will be. Into this world arrives Nicholas Farringdon, a writer and anarchist, who is beguiled by these girls of slender means and their giddy, carefree lives. But this meeting, we soon learn, will end in his death.
Today: It is 1945, but life carries on as usual in the May of Teck Club.
Spark’s 1963 novel, The Girls of Slender Means, has become a modern classic. AL Kennedy has called it: ‘An uncompromisingly well-crafted book: lean, ironic, funny, penetrating, unsettling and very, very beautiful. Welcome to the English language as operated by an expert.’
Muriel Spark (1918-2006) was an award-winning Scottish novelist and biographer, known best for her acclaimed novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
Book at Bedtime
Episode 1 Monday 29 December 2014 airs 22.45
Episode 2 Tuesday 30 December 2014 airs 22.45
Episode 3 Wednesday 31 December 2014 airs 22.45
Episode 4 Thursday 1 January 2015 airs 22.45
Episode 5 Friday 2 January 2015 airs 22.45
Duration: 15 minutes