I picked up Memento Mori for Muriel Spark Reading Week -- which ended two weeks ago -- and I am happy to say I've found a five-star Spark novel. I picked this book completely based on the cover and it was a definite win. The plot involves a group of elderly friends (more like frenemies) who find someone calling them saying "Remember you must die." Each of the friends respond differently to this mystery caller. Some die, some move into nursing homes, previous affairs resurface, and secrets past and present emerge.
Spark's Memento Mori reminded me a bit of a slimmed down Iris Murdoch novel. I always rave that my favorite part of Murdoch's novel involve her character descriptions; there is such a physicality in the descriptions. More than height, eye color, a token feature or two, Spark -- like Murdoch -- allows us to view the character several different ways. The aging Godfrey Colston in Memento Mori sees himself as spry, fit, and healthy. Olive -- the granddaughter of a fellow in Colston's set -- sees him as a sad, angry, old man with bladder issues. I -- personally -- thought he sounded like a mean, blundering jerk.
Based on how much I enjoyed Memento Mori, I have to say that I'm not giving up on Spark yet. I am certainly going to read some other titles and perhaps re-read one of the books I didn't like the first time. I'm really glad there was a Muriel Spark reading week or I might not have picked up Memento Mori.