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The Finishing School by Muriel Spark

The Finishing School of this novel's title is College Sunrise in Switzerland, run by a couple, Rowland and his wife, Nina. Rowland teaches a creative writing course, and one of the 17-year old students is Chris, who is writing a novel about Mary, Queen of Scots and the murder of Darnley. Rowland has seen the first pages of the novel, and is surprised at how good it is. With Chris's youth, good looks, and talent, he's destined for success, and this makes Rowland extremely jealous and unable to write his own novel. As he tries to hobble Chris's career before it evens gets started, Chris finds he thrives off of Rowland's jealousy. While the two of them are caught in a cycle of mutual codependency, Nina makes plans to leave Rowland. Muriel Spark's novel is a comedic look at jealousy, and the follies of both the young and old. The Finishing School has received mostly positive reviews with The Guardian saying, "It is Spark at her sharpest, her purest and her most merciful."
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Buy The Finishing School by Muriel Spark
The Guardian review
by Ali Smith

The Telegraph review
by Jane Shilling

The Telegraph review
by Claudia FitzHerbert

The Observer review
by Adam Mars-Jones

Washington Post review
by Carolyn See

Seattle Times review
by Misha Berson

New York Times review
by Thomas Mallon

Deseret Morning News review
by Dennis Lythgoe

Muriel Spark
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