Memento Mori

Memento Mori In late s London something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each Remember you must die Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled

  • Title: Memento Mori
  • Author: Muriel Spark
  • ISBN: 9780811214384
  • Page: 211
  • Format: Paperback
  • In late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, Remember you must die Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories likIn late 1950s London, something uncanny besets a group of elderly friends an insinuating voice on the telephone informs each, Remember you must die Their geriatric feathers are soon thoroughly ruffled by these seemingly supernatural phone calls, and in the resulting flurry many old secrets are dusted off Beneath the once decorous surface of their lives, unsavories like blackmail and adultery are now to be glimpsed As spooky as it is witty, poignant and wickedly hilarious, Memento Mori may ostensibly concern death, but it is a book which leaves one relishing life all the .

    One thought on “Memento Mori”

    1. A circle of elderly people in 1950's London are regularly phoned by a stranger who says only 'Remember, you must die,' before hanging up. There is Charmian whose popular novels are undergoing a resurgence of public interest. There is her husband, Godfrey Colston, the brewery magnate, now retired, whose adulteries never seem to go farther than a fugitive glimpse of ladies' stockings and garter clips, and even this may overstimulate him. There is Percy Mannering, the slobbering old poet and grandf [...]

    2. I see, I saw, I will see again those little old ladies and those little old gents in their little homes, their big homes, their differently sized homes that have often become traps, leaving them stranded from humanity, distances crossed less and less by the younger, by their families; I see, I saw, I will see again those old timers in their hospital beds, their managed care facilities, their hospices, waiting to die and yet not really believing it. Oh to be old, to be very very old! To be elderl [...]

    3. 4.5 starsThis is Spark at her witty and acerbic best with a novel that is funny with a good dose of macabre. I sometimes think that Spark doesn’t really like her characters and here she really puts them through it. The title is Latin for “Remember you must die” and the book revolves around a group of elderly friends, a number of whom start to receive anonymous phone calls, where a voice says “Remember you must die”. The caller seems to know where people are as calls are received at the [...]

    4. Disclaimer: It has been quite a while since I've attempted a book review—not that anyone might have noticed—but if you should happen to stumble upon this particular review in the middle of the night or during one of your drunken internet adventures, please know that my critical faculties are rusty and not to be trusted by serious readers—that is to say, those persons who sit down to read books seriously, with stern faces and pious intentions. My reading disposition has changed over the yea [...]

    5. The short review: A strange, beautiful, eerily elegant book. The details: The premise is simple. Several elderly British people have been receiving phone calls from someone who says, “Remember you must die.” How each of them responds to this message is the story, which is deeply humorous without being flippant.I was surprised to see how young Muriel Spark was when she wrote this – she’d just turned 41 when it was published in 1959. I suppose I’m in no position to judge how accurately t [...]

    6. Muriel Spark keeps surprising me. This is the third book I've read by her and none of them are like each other. The Driver's Seat was ferocious, deep metafiction, but this isis is just a bunch of old people acting dotty.I mean, no, it's about death, I guess that's pretty intense. A memento mori is a reminder of death. You know who gets into this stuff is monks. The idea is that you can't truly appreciate your life unless you've come to terms with oncoming death. This is why the capuchin monks in [...]

    7. I thoroughly enjoyed my second foray into the startling world of Muriel Spark, having previously read, and liked, 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' a few years back. Who is the mystery caller, or perhaps callers, plaguing a group of aged people? The message is always the same “Remember you must die”. As the frequency of calls increases, the reader gets more familiar with a group of connected friends, relatives and acquaintances, many of whom protect secrets from their past. The reactions to th [...]

    8. I tried so hard with this, my second voyage into the strange world of Muriel Spark. Try as I might, I cannot get on with her, or her style of writing. There were a small handful of amusing moments, but for the majority of the book I was left wishing it was all over. I won't be reading her again.

    9. Memento Mori - "Remember you must die" is the message that an anonymous caller issues to several elderly people, who all react differently to receiving the nuisance calls.What follows is a confused look into the lives of the recipients of these calls and into the way that society neglects the elderly.I don't know what it was about this book, but I rather disliked it. I gather from the reviews of others that there is humorous, yet, macabre writing in this, but I didn't really find much humour in [...]

    10. Look at the Latin title. Translated it means 'Remember you must die'. This is the telephone message delivered to a group of elderly upper-class Brits in the 1950s. Dame Lettie Colston was the first to be targeted. Soon many of Lettie's acquaintances had received the same call. The person or persons calling is sometimes said to be young, sometimes old and was identified by one as a woman. "Who is the caller?" is the mystery of the story. It disappointed me (view spoiler)[that the caller is never [...]

    11. Have read this novel a number of times and as I have just put it onto my ' favourite shelf ' I thought it would be sensible to say why. Then having written that the inspiration falters. I love the book but don't know the reason. Its sinister and funny and bizarre in fairly equal measureassic Muriel I suppose. Old folk each get a phone call in which a voice, oddly different to each listener, declares ' Memento Mori '- ' Remember you will die'. For some this is a simple confirmation of the obvious [...]

    12. The blurb on the back of my paperback copy by Stephen Schiff of the New Yorker calls Memento Mori "A complex, beautiful, and terrifyingly insightful novel about old age." This is spot on! I was surprised to see that Muriel Spark was only 41 when she penned this because it seems to really get at the heart of being in your seventies and eighties. The premise is pretty simply, a group of elderly friends start receiving phone calls from an unknown caller that simple says "remember you must die". The [...]

    13. What to say of the novel?It is primarily about old people and their obsession with the Death. Old People = They are the Memento Mori.What do the old people are obsessed with or afraid of? Death's call. "Being over seventy is like being engaged in a war. All our friends are going or gone and we survive amongst the dead and the dying as on a battlefield."What can be done to avoid such fears at the old age? It is better to develop from the younger days the habit of remembering death. "If I had my l [...]

    14. This is a very talky book, mostly set in drawing rooms and hospital wards. It follows a high-society geriatric set and their servants and lovers past and present. The high-society old folks have been prone to intrigues; most are long past and poorly buried (the intrigues, not the old folks). These folks are haunted, paranoid and fearing exposure. The servants and lovers wield power to blackmail and worm their way into some high-society wills. In my opinion, the stage show is most thrilling when [...]

    15. Spark does a smart thing here, taking what is an often really funny and sometimes quite moving comedy of errors and infusing it with tension in the metronomic form of mysterious, ominous phone calls. When this book works, it sings. The descriptions are wonderful, the characters on point (I think you will particularly love Alec Burns, whose obsession with the old functions as comic relief at the most critical junctures of plot), and the action is often thrilling - I'm particularly thinking of a m [...]

    16. Sorry, I had to stop. I completely lost my interest and reading it became a chore. Maybe I'll give it a chance again in the future.

    17. Well this was an interesting and unusual novelI wanted to read something by Muriel Spark, considered by many literary critics/experts as one of the finest writers of her generation - mid-20th century for the most part - and author of 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.' So I read 'Memento Mori,' which translates into: Remember you must die.And this is what several of the characters hear an anonymous caller tell them, on the phone. (This was written in 1958 when Muriel Spark was in her early forties. [...]

    18. A group of septuagenarians in late-1950s Britain are receiving upsetting phone calls: a man keeps harassing them, simply stating, "Remember, you must die." In Spark's hands, what would be a vehicle or device for a crime/thriller in the hands of someone like Agatha Christie instead becomes a tour de force of social commentary.Like Christie, Spark uses social banter to explore and criticize social issues; in Memento Mori, Spark brings postbellum anxieties about class, gender, and death to bear on [...]

    19. Always amazes me when I can agree with both the five star and two star reviews. I liked this book for its tone and what one reviewer labeled the "economy" of Spark's writing. As a matter of craft, she is probably a genious for so seamlessly weaving so many quirky characters and sublots through such a cohesive, cleverly-written vehicle. For that talent alone, she deserves five stars.But the story itself fell just a bit flat for me. I didn't especially care about any of the characters; I found the [...]

    20. The large cast of the English geriatrics in this book can at times by witty and humorous, but their petty affairs and blackmailing become quickly tiresome, and the book comes off as pointless in the end. If the book wanted to treat the inevitability of old age and death in a humorous way, it was off the track.

    21. The first geriatric comedy in a genre of two, the other being B.S. Johnson’s House Mother Normal, Spark’s attempt has more actual text on its pages than B.S.’s, the bulk of that text being amusing and cunning stuff.

    22. I’ve always thought of ‘memento mori’ as a symbol of death; a skull, for instance; I probably learned the term in an art history class. A bit of research reveals that it is actually a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you must die’. Muriel Spark plays with this idea by making Death a kind of prank caller: beginning with Dame Lettie Colston, a group of interconnected elderly characters keep getting the message ‘remember you must die’. They respond to this ‘call’ in varying ways; so [...]

    23. A black comedy about old age and the inevitability of death, with very few characters under 70. I give it high marks both for tackling such an unusual and challenging topic head on, and for doing so utterly unselfconsciously; this is not an issue book, not a Serious Attempt to talk about old people, but instead comedy in the true sense, a book that stimulates fears only to laugh at them, and that satirises social problems without offering solutions. That being said I didn't really enjoy reading [...]

    24. What could happen to a group of old people who are threatened by an anonymous calls with a single message: "remember that you will die"? Additionally, a great expectation is made with their wills any time one of them reach its final end of life.The reminder about the death - the Mememto Mori, brings a lot of mystery, metaphysical issues, tea time party and even some ironic moments.Another little masterpiece written by Muriel Spark.

    25. Death, death death death death, death death death death death death death death, DEATH death death, death death, death death death death death death death death death death death death death death death death death death, deeeeaaaaattttthhhhhhhhhhhhh

    26. Argomenti scomodi affrontati con armi inadeguateMemento mori, del 1959, è il terzo romanzo pubblicato da questa prolifica autrice, della quale Adelphi ha curato la pubblicazione in Italia di buona parte dell’opera. La Spark, di origine scozzese, convertitasi al cattolicesimo prima di iniziare a scrivere romanzi, visse a lungo in Italia, per la precisione in Toscana, dagli anni ‘60 alla morte, avvenuta nel 2006. Il titolo rivela che Memento mori è un libro che parla di morte, o meglio di ve [...]

    27. I found this somewhat reminiscent of Spark's The Driver's Seat in that my predominant feeling was the plot is mysterious and bizarre. It was interesting to see how the various characters react to the "memento mori" call. And as my parents are of the age of these characters, I could see aspects of them and their friends in the differing physical and emotional responses to the aging process. However, the implication made by both the author and certain characters as to the source of these phone cal [...]

    28. My previous experience with Muriel Spark had been delightful and a friend, knowing how excited I had been with that reading, lent me Memento Mori for the summer. This is a very curious book. I must say I was rather intrigued with it as I read the back cover. And, contrary to what had happened with the other book I read by her, I expected the author would surprise me with all her might. Having read more than one book by her by now, I can certainly point out some characteristics that are exclusive [...]

    29. A congregation of unpleasant upper middle classes and Muriel lets rip. She's such a bitch! Great fun."Mabel Pettigrew thought: I can read him like a book. She had not read a book for over forty years,""Alec spoke to Mrs Bean and received a civil and coherent answer which came, as it seemed, from a primitive reed instrument in her breast-bone,""- there is always something new. I sometimes fear, at the present rate of discovery, I shall never die."

    30. I missed the mark here. Although I did smile here and there I can't describe it as a black comedy, a locution that often appears in other review.It's a pleasant story, but I struggle to finish it.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *