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Title: The Finishing School
Author: Muriel Spark
Prices for:- Audio – £29.98 Hardback – £3.21 Paperback – £2.38
(Source of above information: amazon.co.uk)
This is what the story is about:
It sounds like a random and forgettable teen fiction, but it’s not. The satire and wit in every line of the book reminds me of reading Jane Austen’s books.
The book begins with Rowland teaching a creative writing lesson which then follows on to Chris, the star pupil, giving him the first few pages of the beginning of a novel. From then on Rowland becomes obsessed by what Chris does or doesn’t do with his work-in-progress. This affects his marriage to Nina (who begins planning a divorce once she thinks Rowland might be unconsciously gay and has lost his mind because of jealousy), his relationship with the other students who are very much aware their teachers troubles and with Chris himself.
The book can be read within a day and is a great short read. Not to say that it’s value is any less than a novel, so you won’t regret picking this book up. The humour lies in seeing Rowland and Chris battle it out with words. Their fight is a verbal one (as is right in a book about creative expression) and you cannot hate either of them for what they do!
“Chris went on to say what he had to say next: ‘I need his jealousy. His intense jealousy. I can’t work without it’ ” (page 101).
I found it particularly funny when Rowland attends a monastery, on the advice that he needs spiritual healing to get over his writers block, and when he does meet Chris, he steals his bike and goes back to the college leaving Chris stranded at the monastery :p
The whole monastery trip sounds really out of the ordinary but in Spark’s book, anything is possible! I should have seen the ending coming and it was funny ending.
In short, it is about struggling to express oneself through words, jealousy and the publishing world as it is. I guess I picked it up because it was about writing so if you’re a writer or are in the mood for a short funny view of a finishing school, give this book a chance.