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Territorial Rights

“And he laughed at himself as one who, having been cheated of many things, has in some small way recuperated his loss”

Territorial Rights ~ Muriel Spark

I have no grasp on what my feelings are towards this novel. The book reads like an abandoned love-child of an espionage and comic novels, vacillating between the two, still trying to figure its parents out.

Robert is a young art student who arrives in Venice to be with his pseudo-intellectual Bulgarian girlfriend, only to find his father holidaying with his mistress and a lot of money floating around in the business of kidnappings and ransoms.

I was quite taken in by the first few chapters, because lets face it, Spark can be absolutely hilarious when she wants to, but by the middle of the book – it all started to get a bit absurd. And I don’t mean  absurd like young art students having kinky sex or kidnappers cutting off body parts; but as absurd as a hard bound espionage novel written by a woman in the ‘80s can get. Just plain “why are the characters behaving this way” absurd.

Although, I absolutely loved the few lines sneakily hinting at homosexual prostitution.  I absolutely did not see that coming. Oh Muriel Spark you!

Robert (young British Art student): “I like art and architecture and roaming the streets of Venice being gloomy and hating my father”

Lina (Bulgarian girlfriend to young British Art Student) : “I escaped the Iron curtain and I’m so attractive and complicated”

Curran (Rich American Art collector): “I like boys”

Reader (already bored of all the silliness): “Da Fuck.”

Why you should read it

  • Funny in parts
  • Really colourful characters
  • Quick read
  • Love triangles

Why you shouldn’t read it

  • Ridiculous ending (Spark clearly just wanted to put her pen down and couldn’t believe her Editor thought it was worth publishing)
  • The plot never thickens
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