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The Bottle Imp was first published in May 2007. You can browse all our back issues here:

With a writing career that included biography, criticism, drama and short fiction as well as novels, Muriel Spark was never one to do things by halves. Those unfamiliar with her work might think otherwise, considering the now-unfashionable slimness of her numerous books. The contemporary publishing industry favours the blockbuster, the trilogy, and the continuing series – or at the very least books with a spine-width broad enough to catch a punter’s jaded eye across a crowded marketplace. (Contemporary readers, though, may be rather more in tune: many people appreciate the merits of a fast and flashing story, executed stylishly, and well.) Spark’s novels in particular are brief, quick, and very final, with no loose ends left dangling; when she writes characters, they stay written.

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How does one do justice to a writer who lived for over a hundred years? Who witnessed almost every single day of the entire twentieth century, with over eighty books and an uncounted number of articles and essays to her credit? Who, over and above her own literary achievements, helped shepherd into print titles as various — and influential — as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ringsand James Watson’s The Double Helix? One could begin, perhaps, by remembering not to forget her.

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