Book-giving serendipity

Last month I sent Darin Strauss a copy of Muriel Spark’s Memento Mori after he overpaid for his part of a cab ride home from a party. In return, he introduced me to the Essential Stories of V.S. Pritchett. And then, poking around online, he discovered that Pritchett (pictured) had once written an introduction to an edition of Memento Mori. We were excited as any two book nerds could be.

So far I’ve only found a few tiny excerpts, but they’re great. “Only one other novelist and playwright of consequence — Samuel Beckett — had looked at Mrs. Spark’s subject: the corruption of the flesh, the tedium of waiting to die,” Pritchett said, praising her for taking on “the great suppressed and censored subject of contemporary society, the one we do not care to face, which we regard as indecent: old age.”

Now if only someone will get permission to republish the full text online . . .


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