Monday, April 17, 2006

Be Very Glad Muriel Spark Wasn't Your Mother

The New York Times obituary of writer Muriel Spark. Quite entertaining, even though I've never read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie or even seen the movie. Then you get to her wickedly cold estrangement from her son, who Spark "left behind" in Africa during the war when she went to America.
In her later years it became clear that she and her son, Robin, a painter who lives in Edinburgh, were irreconcilably estranged over various issues, including what he referred to as her abandonment of him, as well as her opinions about his ability as an artist and his public statements about their heritage.

Ms. Spark was harsh in her public criticism of his work and open about their estrangement. She told a newspaper: "He can't sell his lousy paintings, and I have had a lot of success. He keeps sending them to me and I don't know what to do with them. I can't put them on my wall. He's never done anything for me, except for being one big bore."
Ouch! I don't know what this says about me, but her comments make me want to read her all the more.

2 comments:

Rufus said...

To me her comments about her son make her sound like a supreme asshole, making me want to avoid her altogether.

Michael in New York said...

Absolutely. And avoiding her should be easy, since she's dead. I don't want to be in the same room with her. But someone who could be that callous and cold about her son -- and to the world? Well, that makes me wonder about her writing. If we only listened to the music or watched the movies or read the books of people we would like if we met them personally...why, we'd have VERY little to read/watch/listen to. Most artists are unbearable jerks, I fear. But the work they produce is fascinating.