Symposium (novel)

Symposium is a novel by Scottish author Muriel Spark, published in 1990. It was regarded by John Mortimer writing in The Sunday Times as one of the best novels of that year.[1]

First edition
AuthorMuriel Spark
Cover artistSusan Sluglett
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherConstable (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint & Audio

Plot introduction

It is the story of a dinner party and the events leading up to it involving the lives of the five couples attending:

  • Hurley Reed (an American painter) and Chris Donovan (a rich Australian widow), the party hosts
  • Lord and Lady Suzy, who have recently been burgled
  • Ernst and Ella Untzinger, an EU commissioner and his wife, a teacher
  • Margaret and William Damien, newlyweds just returned from a honeymoon in Venice
  • Annabel Treece and Roland Sykes, a TV producer and genealogist, cousins

The story includes many flashbacks into the lives of the guests including a convent of Marxist nuns, a burglary ring preying on the guests, a mad Scottish uncle and several unexplained deaths. The dinner party itself ends with the murder of the mother of one of the guests...


  • Symposium was applauded by Time Magazine for the "sinister elegance" of Muriel Spark's "medium of light but lethal comedy." [2]
  • 'Symposium is put together like an intricate jigsaw...It is extremely clever and highly entertaining' - Penelope Lively[3]
  • 'Stiletto-sharp is the dialogue that propels this dangerous, devilish book' - Scotland on Sunday[4]


This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.