The Public Image is the first book by Muriel Spark I read. I was impressed by Spark’s story of Annabelle, a rising actress, and her husband Fredrick, a playwright who is extremely resentful of Annabelle’s success and goes onto to concoct a scandal to taint Annabelle’s public image. Although The Public Image was written almost fifty years ago, I felt the book takes a realistic view of the celebrity-obsessed culture which is even relevant today. So I eagerly moved on to read Spark’s famous novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie next.
Unfortunately for me, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was not what I expected. I’ve forgotten its plot now, but I recall it was a misery to read, which made me steer clear of Sparks. Because of that when I saw that Daisy Overend is the next story in London Stories collection, I was dismayed. Nonetheless, I decided to read it with an open mind.
Daisy Overend, the main character of the story is a political columnist who is a regular in literary circles. The narrator had worked for Daisy one summer for three days long ago, but despite the intervening years, you can sense the hostility of the narrator towards Daisy. Everything the narrator says sheds a bad light on Daisy, so to me, the story was nothing more than useless rambling. Daisy may not be a nice person (and we wouldn’t know otherwise, as we only have narrator’s word for it), but I couldn’t understand why the narrator would hold a grudge for so long, and in the end, it felt like the narrator was wasting her energy. Was that the point of this story? I’m not sure. All I know is that Sparks left me feeling meh again! 😐