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The Finishing School

Muriel Spark
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"I wanted to read The Finishing School because it's by Muriel Spark, and she is one of my favorite authors, and here she was with a new one. Specifically, what The Finishing School is about is a married couple, Rowland and Nina, who run this school, and one of their students, Chris. Rowland is -- the husband of the couple -- is an English and creative writing teacher; and he's working on a novel, but he's blocked. So every day he goes to class, and he tells the kids how to write well and what to do, and he in fact can't do it. So here into the plot comes Chris, who's one of the students, who is writing a novel at age 16; and he's got hundreds of pages of it done already, and this teacher's got to deal with this student who's way excelling beyond what the teacher can do. So we see the two of them together, and their conflict, and jealousies, and their eventually how it all turns out. What I liked most about The Finishing School is Muriel Spark's sense of humor. She is dry as a bone. She is so ironic, we never -- you never in the course of human affairs expect that these twists are gonna happen that she makes happen. The person that doest the thing that -- oh, gosh, that is exactly what they would do, really, at their worst. I think The Finishing School doesn't quite hold up to Muriel Spark's other works. She's clearly at the end of her career, phoning it in, she's done better in her time. It's as if you see all the things she's able to do, she does them almost so easily it's she just -- it's to where she just says, "Okay, this is an idea I had for a book, I'm gonna toss it off, now I'm out of here. I'd give it a four. I think she's done better; Spark has done better than The Finishing School."
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