cover image Curriculum Vitae CL

Curriculum Vitae CL

Muriel Spark. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $22.95 (213pp) ISBN 978-0-395-65372-2

Spark's enchanting memoir flickers with the tart judgments, gimlet wit, bizarre episodes and odd twists of fate that distinguish her fiction. Born in 1918 to a Scottish Jewish engineer father and an English Presbyterian mother full of superstitions and presentiments, she ended her fairly idyllic Edinburgh girlhood by marrying, at age 19, a teacher 13 years her senior. She followed him to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), but he turned out to be unstable, given to violent fits and fond of shooting the revolver he always carried. Divorcing him, she returned to England with her son and took a job working with German POWs to wage psychological warfare against the Nazis by releasing false news stories about German opposition to Hitler. Spark settles literary scores in this memoir, which ends in 1957 with the publication of her first novel, The Comforters . She also paints a dynamic picture of Christina Kay, the exuberant schoolteacher who was the prototype for the protagonist of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Photos. (May)