The Takeover by Muriel Spark, will be no exception. So it is time for one of my famous (infamous?) bullet list reviews.
- Although I quite enjoyed the general setting and narrative style of The Takeover, and looked forward to reading it whenever I could, I can't really say that I really enjoyed the overall message. Perhaps because I am not sure what the message was.
- Spark creates an Italy in the loosey goosey 1970s with a cast of expats, Eurotrash, and shifty Italians.
- There is much in Spark's writing in which one can delight. I was particularly taken by this passage: "They talked of hedges against inflation, as if mathematics could contain actual air and some row of hawthorn could stop an army of numbers from marching over it." I mean how poetic is that? I love the image of a lovely hawthorn hedge blocking not just inflation, but numbers themselves.
- You know how Iris Murdoch in the 1970s had everyone hopping from bed to bed and saying scandalous, cruel things to each other in a very clever ways. In some ways I feel like Spark takes that same kind of ethos to a kind of slapstick extreme.
- I don't understand why Maggie gets the brunt of the bad luck in the book. She was really the innocent party in most cases but ended up being treated quite poorly by everyone.
- I think this would be a fun book to discuss in a book club. It may not be the best book, but it is full of things that would engender great discussion.
Later, in Maggie's room, they counted the coins and made a list. It was Mary's idea to make a list. She made lists of everything. A good part of her mornings was spent on list-making. She had lists for entertaining and for shopping. She listed her clothes, her expenditure and her correspondence. She kept lists of her books and music and furniture. She wrote them by hand, then typed them later in alphabetical or chronological order according as might be called for. Sometimes she made a card index when the subject was complex, such as the winter season's dinner parties, whom she had dined with and whom she had asked, what she had worn and when.