Advent calendar 20th December – The book you’ve read more than three times

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel SparkI like to re-read, whether it’s a book that always cheers me up or one that brings back happy memories. But the most rewarding re-reads are when each visit gives something fresh. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark is one of those novels, every time I read it I notice some new detail or facet to a character. The wit of Jean Brodie is well known (and often quoted by friends) but the novel is a study of the tragic schoolmistress’ downfall, a victim of her own hubris as much as her political sympathies, the ostensible reason for her dismissal from the school.

It’s a slim volume – about 130 pages – so if it’s quietly sitting on your shelves it might be time to take it down and re-read. Every emotion is there, spare and elegant, from love and hatred to pride and despair.

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