Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Beginnings: The Only Problem by Muriel Spark

This week I've been reading Muriel Spark's short novel The Only Problem, first published in 1984.  These are the opening lines:
He was driving along the road in France from St Dié to Nancy in the district of Meurthe; it was straight and almost white, through thick woods of fir and birch.  He came to the grass track on the right that he was looking for.  It wasn't what he had expected.  Nothing ever is, he thought.

Initial Thoughts:  Well, my first thought was that I'd really, really love to get back to France someday.  Other than that, the opening didn't exactly grab me.  But I've read enough Muriel Spark to know that no matter how mundane the book may seem at the start, amazing things will emerge.  She was such a wonderful writer.  And this is another book I've been meaning to read for a couple of decades now. Glad I finally got around to it.

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


  1. Muriel Spark books take a while to get into. But well worth it....

    I would definitely pick it up!

    Here is my post

  2. Thanks for reminding me that I haven't read a Muriel Spark book in much too long. Must remedy that soon...

    My Friday post:

  3. I have enjoyed Muriel Spark and haven't read this you have piqued my curiosity.


  4. I would love to just go to France once. Hope you get back.
    Click here to go to Mixed Book Bag

  5. I'd probably keep reading after the opening sentences although they didn't grab me . The author's use of "was" in every sentence is passive - not exciting at all. But the last couple of sentences aroused my curiosity. What did he see? What had he expected to see? I'd read more to find out.
    Here's the link to my Friday post: BETWEEN LONESOME AND TEXAS.

  6. I have never read a book by Spark. THANKS for sharing.

    It looks good.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings


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