Striking excerpts from the writings of Scottish novelist Muriel Spark, from Penelope Jardine’s 2018 collection A Good Comb:
- The superstition of today is the science of yesterday.
- Providers are often disliked, often despised.
- I think “waiter” is such a funny word. It is we who wait.
- It is impossible to persuade a man who does not disagree, but smiles.
- I’m not lonely before they come. I’m only lonely when they go away.
- Dangerous people often seem boring.
- She was astonishingly ugly, one was compelled to look at her.
- I am an honest man … when treating of the few existing subjects to which honesty is due.
- Suffering isn’t in proportion to what the sufferer deserves.
- He exhausted his capacity for conversation when he became an Englishman.
Jardine’s title comes from the observation “It calms you down, a good comb,” remarked by an unnamed character in Spark’s 1960 novel The Ballad of Peckham Rye.