The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark

#31 in my book challenge for the year, and #7 in my summer reading challenge was The Abbess of Crewe, a satire of Watergate. There will be an online discussion of Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and other works at the end of the month, at Metaxucafe.

Abbess is dated, both by its subject and the electronic equipment it references. Spark nevertheless makes her story timeless by setting the power struggle in the removed culture of an Abbey. It has snarky one liners, and a deluded Abbess who is so funny that she is hard to dislike, even as she runs roughshod over the rights of the rest of those poor nuns.

Such a scandal could never arise in the United States of America. They have a sense of proportion and they understand Human Nature over there; it’s the secret of their success. A realistic race, even if they do eat asparagus the wrong way.

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