Friday, July 31, 2009



THERE WERE NO SURPRISES, REALLY. They are all on the longlist: A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee, Sarah Hall, Hilary Mantel, Colm Tóibín, William Trevor and Sarah Waters. Here’s the official longlist of the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction which was announced on July 28, 2009:

1. The Children’s Book (Chatto & Windus, 2009) / A.S. Byatt
2. Summertime (Harvill Secker, 2009) / J.M. Coetzee
3. The Quickening Maze (Jonathan Cape, 2009) / Adam Foulds
4. How to Paint a Dead Man (Faber & Faber, 2009) / Sarah Hall
5. The Wilderness (Jonathan Cape, 2009) / Samantha Harvey
6. Me Cheeta (Fourth Estate, 2009) / James Lever

7. Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate, 2009) / Hilary Mantel
8. The Glass Room (Little, Brown, 2009) / Simon Mawer
9. Not Untrue & Not Unkind (Penguin Ireland, 2009) / Ed O’Loughlin
10. Heliopolis (Harvill Secker, 2009) / James Scudamore
11. Brooklyn (Viking, 2009) / Colm Tóibín
12. Love and Summer (Viking, 2009) / William Trevor
13. The Little Stranger (Virago, 2009) / Sarah Waters

Here’s what the chair of the judges, James Naughtie, had to say about the longlist: “The five Man Booker judges have settled on thirteen novels as the longlist for this year’s prize. We believe it to be one of the strongest lists in recent memory, with two former winners, four past-shortlisted writers, three first-time novelists and a span of styles and themes that make this an outstandingly rich fictional mix.

“We considered more than 130 novels (including the work of nine former winners) and found ourselves travelling in a fertile landscape. We kept discovering new talent as well as reacquainting ourselves with familiar writers, and emerged with a feeling that we were part of an exceptional year.

“Our fiction is in the hands of original and dedicated writers with fresh and appealing voices. This is an eclectic list, taking us from the court of Henry VIII to the Hollywood jungle, with stops along the way in a nineteenth-century Essex asylum, an African warzone and a futuristic Brazilian city among other places.

“These are books that readers will want to get their hands on.”

Chaired by James Naughtie, the line-up of judges in 2009 include Lucasta Miller, Michael Prodger, John Mullan and Sue Perkins.

The shortlist will be announced on September 8, 2009, and the announcement of the winner will be made on October 6, 2009.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


ERIC FORBES talks to LAU SIEW MEI in conjunction with the publication of her second novel, The Dispeller of Worries

LAU SIEW MEI is the author of Playing Madame Mao (Brandl & Schlesinger, 2000), which was shortlisted for the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction in the 2001 New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Her second novel, The Dispeller of Worries (Marshall Cavendish, March 2009), is a concoction of Slavic and Malay myths, folk tales, dreams, shadow theatre and the drama of everyday life.

Tell me something about yourself.
I was born in Singapore in 1968, studied at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, National Junior College, National University of Singapore and Murdoch University. After graduating from Murdoch University, I worked as a journalist in Brunei and Singapore and obtained an Australian permanent resident visa in 1993. I visited a friend in Melbourne as my first point of entry and migrated to Australia on my own, arriving in Brisbane on January 1, 1994.

My father was born in Singapore and my paternal grandparents came from China while the maternal side of my family are Malaysians or former Malaysians. My mother, maternal grandmother and great-grandmother were born in Penang.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer? Was it something you had always set your heart on?
When I was a child, I would make up and tell stories to other children on the school bus. A group of little ones used to ‘chope’ a seat for me so that I could sit with them and tell them stories on their way home from school. I also entertained my classmates with my storytelling. I knew I wanted to be a writer from a young age, although at that time I was transmitting my stories mostly through my mouth; however, I did have a special book where I wrote my early poems and stories.

Was it difficult getting your stories published in literary magazines? Was it difficult getting your first and second novels published? Did you experience difficulty in finding an agent or a publisher for your books?
When I was growing up in Singapore, I don’t think there were any literary journals around apart from Singa and I don’t think that came out regularly. I entered stories and plays into the few competitions around and the newspaper as it had a section devoted to poems and stories at one time but they were all rejected. However, I did win one of the top three prizes in a National Essay Award at the secondary-school level and one fiction competition—the National University of Singapore’s short-story competition—but they gave me the second prize and said, “No first prize awarded this year.” The story was published in The Straits Times.

When I arrived in Australia to do a Graduate Diploma in Journalism at Murdoch University, I submitted my stories to several Australian literary journals and the BBC World Service and started getting acceptances. However, I had difficulty getting my first novel, Playing Madame Mao, published. I had heaps of rejections from agents and publishers. Some publishers weren’t interested in a novel about Singapore. One editor of a newspaper later commented to me that my novel was unique in Australian publishing. Playing Madame Mao was perhaps oddly for a first novel not about me but about a country or the impact of a country on my psyche. I didn’t have the same level of difficulty with my new novel, The Dispeller of Worries. I also didn’t have too much trouble getting my first illustrated children’s book, Yin’s Magic Dragon (Black Dog Books, 2007), published but some other stuff I’ve written have been rejected. So I believe no author ever escapes rejections. You have to be bloody-minded and believe you’ve written something worthwhile. Now I have an agent.

I am always interested in the kinds of books writers read during their formative years. What kinds of books did you read when you were growing up? Who are some of your literary influences? Who are some of your favourite authors?
I remember reading the Anne of Green Gables series, the Narnia series, the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden series, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan), Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, Madeleine L’Engle, E. Nesbit, Joan Aiken, Noel Streatfeild, Agatha Christie (although I may have been a bit young to be reading her because the books used to give me nightmares). I would also dig among the books on our bookshelves. I remember reading bits of Shakespeare. My parents used to go to book sales and we would pick up all kinds of books, not just literature. I used to be left with my father in the bookshop for hours while my mother went shopping.

Some of my childhood favourites were Charlotte Sometimes, Tom’s Midnight Garden, For Love of Seven Dolls, Carrie’s War, Ballet Shoes, Jane Eyre, I Am David, Frankenstein and To Kill a Mockingbird. Then in my mid- to late teens, I read Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, Harold Pinter, T.S. Eliot and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

What kinds of books do you read nowadays? Any particular genre, and why?
I read anything and everything I find interesting. No particular genre. I read both fiction and nonfiction. For fiction, it can be literary, crime, fantasy, romance, horror, children’s, thriller, whatever. For nonfiction, the topics range widely as well.

Could you tell me a bit about your first novel? What are some of the themes you dealt with in Playing Madame Mao? Were you conscious of these when you first set out to write the story? What about The Dispeller of Worries?
Playing Madame Mao is the story of the actress Chiang Ching, who is playing the role of Madame Mao Tse-tung on stage, whose husband is arrested and detained without trial under Singapore’s Internal Security Act for taking part in an alleged Communist conspiracy. I guess the themes are oppression and the effects of oppression. The Dispeller of Worries is the story of a woman, the two men in her life, the looming presence of a dead sister and a beloved house.

Who or what do you read if or when you take a break from writing?
At the moment, I’m reading J.M. Coetzee’s Dusklands and a series of romance novels by Marion Chesney (who also writes the very funny Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth crime novels under the name M.C. Beaton).

Do you read short stories? Do you have a favourite short story or short-story collection?
I do read short stories. One of my all-time favourite short stories is J.D. Salinger’s “For Esme With Love and Squalor.” One of my all-time favourite short-story collections is Yasunari Kawabata’s Palm-of-the-Hand Stories. I was impressed with Jim Crace’s The Devil’s Larder, although that was described as a “cumulative novel in sixty-four parts,” it was like reading a series of short stories. I have also enjoyed reading those great big collections of the best horror, sci-fi and fantasy short stories.

Do you write short stories? Where have you published them?
Yes, I do. I’ve had short stories published in various journals, anthologies, newspapers and broadcast on radio, including the BBC World Service, ABC Radio National, Asiatic, Hot Iron Corrugated Sky: 100 Years of Queensland Writing, Diaspora: Negotiating Asian-Australia, The Courier Mail, Difficult Love: Twenty-six Intimate Stories by Contemporary Queensland Writers, New Letters, Scrivener Creative Review, Planet: The Welsh Internationalist, Westerly, Imago, Australian Short Stories, Idiom 23, Overland, Northern Perspective, Redoubt, Australian Book Review, SPAN (South Pacific Journal of Commonwealth Literature), Hecate and The Straits Times.

Publishers find story collections a hard sell. Do you think it is harder to publish story collections than novels? Why do you think this is so? What can we do to make people read more of such collections?
I haven’t tried selling my short stories in a collection, so I can’t really say. Some people prefer reading short-story collections to novels simply because it takes a shorter amount of time to finish a story.

“History writes the best stories.” What do you think of this statement?
Well, someone else has remarked that history is written by the victors, which leaves out half the stories. Ancient historical writings are interesting because they would meld facts with myths. It depends on who the historian is but while fiction writers may draw upon history, they have the liberty to insert between the lines, fill out details, colour in the atmosphere and create an even better story.

“Good books don’t answer questions, but they give us questions to enjoy for a long time.” What do you think of this quote?
Good fiction lingers in the mind and colours one’s thoughts and psyche. Some good books leave a reader with questions or make a reader think but I don’t think a good book has to follow a formula so although it is a wonderful quote, it should not be taken in such a way as to dictate the criteria for a good book.

What is the difference between writing short stories and full-length novels? Which form do you prefer working on?
A short story offers a glimpse; a novel offers a world. I like writing short stories, but I think I prefer working on a novel.

Do you think more competitions or creative writing courses are imperative in increasing the number of good writers and/or improve the quality of writing?
I think more than anything a writer needs time and headspace. I think it’s best not to expose a fledgling idea or story to the light but feedback may be useful in later stages.

What do you think of the suggestion that writing short stories is training ground for novelists?
Some novelists don’t start with writing the short story, but it’s how I began, so for me I’d say it was good training ground. I find the short story useful in trying out something—an idea, an atmosphere, characters, style, etc.

In your opinion, what are the essentials of good fiction?
Good fiction has the ability to transport the reader into its world; it is imaginative, it has feeling, an individual way of thinking or looking at the world and people; it is beautiful and here beauty can be harsh as well; it has interesting characters; it tells a fascinating story and it leaves the reader with an impression or an imprint of its soul.

What was it like growing up in Singapore?
I thought Singapore was the centre of the world; and then I realised it was really small.

What do you miss most about Singapore?
Family, friends and food.

What’s life like in Australia?
Like life anywhere, with its ups and downs, but with more space than in Singapore. I like space. I like having a garden, looking at trees and quiet streets. I sit on the verandah with a cup of tea looking at the paperbark trees in my garden. There’s a park behind my house and bushland within walking distance, where I can go for bushwalks or I can sit on the swing I put up for my two children years ago.

What do you do for work in Australia?
I am a public servant.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Stanley MIDDLETON (1919-2009)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I Found at ... Kinokuniya KLCC

1. A Girl Made of Dust (Fourth Estate) / Nathalie Abi-Ezzi
2. Good Things I Wish You (Harper) / A. Manette Ansay
3. The Virgin Suicides (Picador) / Jeffrey Eugenides
4. A Free Life (Pantheon) / Ha Jin
5. How to Paint a Dead Man (Faber & Faber) / Sarah Hall
6. Disguise (Fourth Estate) / Hugo Hamilton
7. Chowringhee (trans. from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha) (Atlantic Books) (first published in Bengali in 1962; first English translation published by Penguin India in 2007; this edition published in 2009) / Sankar
8. Burnt Shadows (Picador) / Kamila Shamsie
9. Black Orchids (Virago) / Gillian Slovo

1. Between the Assassinations (Free Press/Simon & Schuster) / Aravind Adiga
2. Collected Short Stories Volume 1 (Vintage) / W. Somerset Maugham
3. Collected Short Stories Volume 2 (Vintage) / W. Somerset Maugham
4. Collected Short Stories Volume 3 (Vintage) / W. Somerset Maugham
5. Collected Short Stories Volume 4 (Vintage) / W. Somerset Maugham
6. Half in Love (John Murray) / Maile Meloy
7. Our Story Begins (Vintage) / Tobias Wolff

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Amir MUHAMMAD ... On E. YU's Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj


His Life Journey Leading to the Declaration of Independence (1903-1957)
by E. Yu (MPH Publishing, 2009, 240pp)

LAST WEEK’s novel, The Malayan Trilogy, ended at Independence but gave us the sardonic sweep of our incipient nation’s colours and contradictions. It did not foreground any politicians, so this oversight (if it can be considered one) is happily corrected in this comic tome.

This is a longer and more satisfying book than E. Yu’s previous biography of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. It’s still in the genre of hagiography rather than critical biography, but it’s more diverting since there are more incidents here that aren’t common knowledge to the average reader of today. The cute tone is also more apposite, since the Tunku exists in the public imagination as a much cuddlier figure than the famously combative doctor.

The Tunku was an affable old-school gentleman whose Anglophilia and royal credentials were matched by humour and cosmopolitan ease. (This is where we are conditioned to sigh: “They don’t make ’em like that anymore!”) To use the title of a biography about someone else, he was also a “reluctant politician” whose conciliatory personality nevertheless shaped the first few decades of the country.

Not exactly the towering paragon that a more rabidly “nationalist” writer would invent, the prince of Kedah is shown as a less-than-stellar law student who would sometimes get bullied at work, and whose second marriage ended in failure. Even the preface by his son acknowledged that he “was not much of a family man.”

But it was his infectious joviality that inspired people. Unlike Umno founder Onn Jaafar (presented here as antagonist), he wasn’t even a sterling orator, but his royal status was the starting (but not ending) point for garnering supporters.

Speaking of which: Malaysia would be very different now if Onn Jaafar’s proposal to open up the party to non-Malays hadn’t gone down like a ton of bricks. We probably wouldn’t still be wasting time arguing about ethnicity when there are more pressing matters. We won’t need 1Malaysia if the concept were already a fait accompli. Things always seem easy to fix in hindsight, but it’s doubly sad that the Tunku ended his years in yet another party, Semangat 46, that was defined primarily by race. Did he really feel we had not moved on?

The birth of any nation is always a contested terrain and any account is bound to displease some people. On the plus point, it’s great that this book highlights the fact that our royalty was never an apolitical institution: the sultans were ready to agree to the entrenched colonial plan of the Malayan Union, and were also hesitant about Independence lest they lose their powers. The relatively chummy terms by which Independence was granted is also not ignored in favour of breast-beating perjuangan rhetoric. And unlike the film 1957 Hati Malaya, it even includes Chin Peng and the Baling Talks!

But the crucial role of women in UMNO is neglected, as well as the neighbouring freedom movements of Indonesia. If the latter didn’t have any impact, then why would Indonesia and UMNO have almost the same flag?

Like E. Yu’s Mahathir biography, this has a host of slapstick commentators, human and non-human, tucked away in corners of the frame. My favourite is the “hairy porter” who’s offering his services.

The most moving section is his first wife’s death through medical malpractice; it is shown as typical of his selflessness that he did not press charges. And the most exciting is when he ‘kidnapped’ his father during the Japanese Occupation, and in the process saved the aged sultan’s life. Towards the end, we get the national anthem.

The fact that “Negaraku” uses the melody of an Indonesian love song (which was also adapted into a Hawaiian pop tune) speaks of the exciting fluidity that existed at the time. Only a playboy prince would have been unstuffy enough to choose it; a more insecure arriviste would have insisted on something more pompous.

To provide a more rounded picture of the forces at work then, this should be read alongside another illustrated work, Where Monsoons Meet, which unabashedly took the Leftists as heroes. Some people will say that both combined still don’t make a ‘complete’ picture, but only extinct people have complete histories.

So here we are, squabbling often about the same trite themes. I’d like to think the Tunku is now sitting somewhere, nursing a favourite drink, sighing with some exasperation, but pleased to be away from it all.


Reproduced from the Malay Mail of July 22, 2009

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Hopeless Side of Malaysian Publishing

IT HAS BEEN SOME TIME, so here’s more of what we enjoy most! Oh, yes, they are all Malaysians, by the way! Sad but true.

Author: I know the prime minister, you know. We go a long long way back.
Editor: Yes, I am really happy for you and all that, BUT we still need a manuscript to produce a book, you know.
Author: Oh, I will think about it, then.
Editor: Yes, you should seriously think about it.

Author: Have you a one- or two-page guide to publishing a book? I don’t want to read anything too long, okay?
Editor: I have written a guide to publishing a book, but it’s about five or six pages long. Is that all right?
Author: I just want something short and easy to read. Nothing fancy, you know what I mean.
Editor: Have you completed a manuscript or something?
Author: Not really. I am such a good talker, so I don’t think writing a book is such a huge problem for me. I just need to know the process of getting it published, that’s all.
Editor: Wow, I can’t wait to read it!

Author: My manuscript is perfect. There is very minimal editing to be done. In fact, I don’t think you need to edit it at all.
Editor: Even the best books require some editing.
Author: You really dont’t have to edit my book. Let’s publish it as it is. Let the public decide whether it is good or bad.
Editor: Why don’t you self-publish it since, as you said, it is such a perfect book.


“I have a lot of stories inside me, all bursting to get out. All I need is a writer to help me put these stories into words. Know anyone who is interested in this job?” Anonymous

“My God, the amount of time we waste editing horrible manuscripts.” Anonymous

“Don’t worry, be selfish. There’s nothing wrong about being selfish?” Anonymous

“Why do books move so slowly?” Anonymous

“Don’t be a pain. Respect others. And don’t be arrogant. After all, one day we will all be pushing up daisies, whether we like it or not.” Anonymous

“You can’t save the world.” Anonymous

“What if nobody buys my book?” Anonymous

“I have just completed editing a horrible manuscript. It’s still horrible even after all the editing I’ve done. I can’t wait to edit another one!” Anonymous

“Why do bookshops have such bad sound systems?” Anonymous

“I am almost half a century old ... and I still have no idea what’s the point of my life.” Anonymous

“I want to be on the cover of Quill.” Anonymous

Friday, July 24, 2009

William TREVOR ... Love and Summer (Viking, August 2009)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction


THE 2009 MAN BOOKER PRIZE FOR FICTION will very soon be upon us. And it looks like it will be a battle of the biggies this year! There are many former prize-winners [Margaret Atwood, John Banville (The Infinities), Anita Brookner, A.S. Byatt, J.M. Coetzee (Summertime), Thomas Keneally (The People’s Train), Penelope Lively (Family Album), Barry Unsworth (Land of Marvels)] as well as those who had been shortlisted for the prize before [William Boyd (Ordinary Thunderstorms), Justin Cartwright, Jane Gardam (The Man in the Wooden Hat), Kate Grenville, Sarah Hall (How to Paint a Dead Man), M.J. Hyland, Hilary Mantel, Anita Mason (The Right Hand of the Sun), Caryl Phillips (In the Falling Snow), Colm Tóibín, Sarah Waters]. Tóibín was twice shortlisted for The Blackwater Lightship and The Master.

This year sees many female authors writing at the height of their power. Will we see a female-dominated shortlist this year, I wonder?

There are a couple of outstanding début novelists: Gil Adamson, Rosie Alison, Eleanor Catton (The Rehearsal), Samantha Harvey, Francesca Kay (winner of the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers), Ed O’Loughlin (Not Untrue & Not Unkind), Jacob Polley (Talk of the Town), Anthony Quinn and Abraham Verghese. There are also new novels from Michael Arditti (The Enemy of the Good), Tash Aw (Map of the Invisible World), Joseph Boyden, Amit Chaudhuri (The Immortals), Amanda Craig, Rachel Cusk (The Bradshaw Variations), Rana Dasgupta (Solo), Sarah Dunant (Sacred Hearts), Geoff Dyer (Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi), Diana Evans (The Wonder), Sebastian Faulks (A Week in December), Patrick Gale (The Whole Day Through), Rawi Hage (Cockroach), Christine Dwyer Hickey (Last Train from Liguria), Sadie Jones (Small Wars), Claire Kilroy (All Names Have Been Changed), Colin McAdam (Fall), James Scudamore (Heliopolis), Kamila Shamsie (Burnt Shadows), Roma Tearne, Adam Thirlwell (The Escape), Adam Thorpe, William Trevor (Love and Summer) and Sally Vickers (Dancing Backwards). Forward Poetry Prize and T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Sean O’Brien has written a first novel, Afterlife (Picador).

Any full-length novel, written by a citizen of the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland and published in 2009, is eligible for the prize. The novel must be an original work in English, not a translation, and must not be self-published.

Here’s a list of some of the literary highlights:

1. The Outlander (Bloomsbury, 2009) / Gil Adamson
2. The Very Thought of You (Alma Books, 2009) / Rosie Alison
3. The Year of the Flood (Bloomsbury, 2009) / Margaret Atwood
4. Through Black Spruce (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009) / Joseph Boyden
5. Strangers (Fig Tree, 2009) / Anita Brookner
6. The Children’s Book (Chatto & Windus, 2009) / A.S. Byatt
7. Summertime (Harvill Secker, 2009) / J.M. Coetzee
8. Hearts and Minds (Little, Brown, 2009) / Amanda Craig
9. The Great Lover (Sceptre, 2009) / Jill Dawson
10. The Quickening Maze (Jonathan Cape, 2009) / Adam Foulds

11. The Lieutenant (Canongate, 2009) / Kate Grenville
12. How to Paint a Dead Man (Faber & Faber, 2009) / Sarah Hall
13. The Truth About Love (Virago, 2009) / Josephine Hart
14. The Wilderness (Jonathan Cape, 2009) / Samantha Harvey
15. The Hidden (Faber & Faber, 2009) / Tobias Hill
16. This Is How (Canongate, 2009) / M.J. Hyland
17. An Equal Stillness (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009) / Francesca Kay
18. Wolf Hall (Fourth Estate, 2009) / Hilary Mantel
19. The Glass Room (Little, Brown, 2009) / Simon Mawer
20. The Winter Vault (Bloomsbury, 2009) / Anne Michaels

21. Stone’s Fall (Jonathan Cape/Spiegel and Grau, 2009) / Iain Pears
22. The Rescue Man (Jonathan Cape, 2009) / Anthony Quinn
23. Heliopolis (Harvill Secker, 2009) / James Scudamore
24. Ask Alice (Chatto & Windus, 2009) / D.J. Taylor
25. Brixton Beach (Harper Press, 2009) / Roma Tearne
26. Hodd (Jonathan Cape, 2009) / Adam Thorpe
27. Brooklyn (Viking, 2009) / Colm Tóibín
28. Love and Summer (Viking, 2009) / William Trevor
29. Cutting for Stone (Chatto & Windus, 2009) / Abraham Verghese
30. The Little Stranger (Virago, 2009) / Sarah Waters

Chaired by James Naughtie, the line-up of judges in 2009 include Lucasta Miller, Michael Prodger, John Mullan and Sue Perkins.

The longlist will be announced on July 28, 2009, with the shortlist announcement on September 8, 2009, and the announcement of the winner will be made on October 6, 2009.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ernest HEMINGWAY ... A Moveable Feast (1964)

THE RESTORED EDITION of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast (published posthumously in 1964, three years after his death in 1961), his classic memoir of his life in Paris in the 1920s, was published by Scribner/Simon & Schuster on July 14, 2009.

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frank McCOURT (1930-2009)

“Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” Angela’s Ashes (1996)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Muriel SPARK ... The Comforters (1957)

VIRAGO PRESS will be reissuing Muriel Spark’s first novel, The Comforters, first published in 1957, on August 6, 2009. This new paperback edition comes with an introduction by Ali Smith.