The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark

One of the books that Lodge talks about in The Art of Fiction. Lodge uses it as an example of how time shifts can be manipulated, and this novel certainly does that.

The narrative shifts frequently between the "present day", when Jean Brodie is dead and her former pupils have grown up, and the time when her chosen coterie of girls, the "Brodie Set" were at school under her tutelage.

Brodie has an unconventional teaching style, and is the subject of various attempts by the other staff in the school to have her dismissed, and so to start with the reader's sympathies are with her. But as the novel progresses, her eccentric behaviour gives rise to doubts as to the nature of her character.

Nicely written and very evocative. Not sure how good the rest of her books are but it would be worth trying them.

Completed : 13-Dec-2006

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