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Summary

A barrister, a "priest," a detective, a lovelorn Irishman, a handwriting expert, a heinous spiritual medium...the very British bachelors of Muriel Spark's supreme 1960 novel come in every stripe.

First found contentedly chatting in their London clubs and shopping at Fortnum's, the cozy bachelors are not set to stay cozy for long. Soon enough, the men are variously tormented - defrauded, stolen from, blackmailed, or pressed to attend horrid séances - and then plunged, all together, into the nastiest of lawsuits. At the center of that suit hovers pale, blank Patrick Seton, the medium.

Meanwhile, horrors of every size plague the poor bachelors - from epileptic fits to forgeries, spiritualists foaming with protoplasm, and murder - and each horror delights, lit up by Spark's uncanny wit, at once malicious, funny, and deadly serious.

©1960 Muriel Spark (P)1999 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Completely, searingly original." ( The Independent)
"One of the most decisive and unmistakable voices in contemporary fiction....Spark concocts a present-tense deadpan that is at once lyrical, extravagant, and gruesomely funny." ( The New Yorker)
"Incomparable reader May's gentle British accent perfectly animates The Bachelors, a novel of sophisticated wit." ( Booklist)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • connie
  • 22-04-09

philosophical black comedy

- expressed through description of actions and morality of mostly male singles in late 50s urban British setting. This novel is mostly dialogue and so reads like a play. Even though most of the characters are male, Nadia May seems a fitting narrator for the overall (and often ironic) tone of the book.

Similar to the more contemporary Ian McEwan's "Amsterdam," this is a reflection on responsibility, deception, and self-deception (individual and group). It's far from a light comedy, though there are laughs.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MirandaClassics
  • 13-05-18

Good suspenseful telling of a crime and trial.

Loved Nadia May's telling. She manages to cross all social classes, occupations, sexes, to provide an all knowing, ironic delivery, as if Muriel Spark herself was telling the tale.

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  • MaryAnn
  • 12-04-17

Captivating plot

I felt as though I was living in London in the 1940's. This author should get much more attention than she does Currently.

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  • Frances
  • 16-11-14

A perfect reading

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I'd recommend it to someone who likes stylish funny unsentimental British fiction. The meticulously rendered seedy London mid-twentieth century setting and the many diverse characters make it a joy to listen to.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters, and the way they were portrayed by the narrator. Some are sympathetic, most are funny, at least one is really quite awful!

Have you listened to any of Nadia May’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I've listened to several others. They're always good, including this one.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, it was hard to put it aside.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended!