May Sarton's powerful and profound novel of an extraordinary life, and of one woman's efforts to preserve the force and vitality of her experiences on the pages of a book
For the second time in my lifeand I am now seventyI am embarking on an effort which may well come to nothing but which has possessed my mind, haunts, and will not let me sleep.
From her opening statement, Cam, the narrator of The Magnificent Spinster, declares her grand intentions: to write a novela worthy and important one in celebration of her recently deceased friend and teacher, Jane Reid, whose dearth of family threatens the memory of her almost tangible greatness. And so she writes, re-creating Jane's childhood, adolescence, and years as a teacherincluding the one in which Cam was her student. She writes of Jane's irrepressible spirit and the charming letters Jane penned about her adventures, and she recounts Jane's growing isolation as she aged, which, rather than softening her, only made her shine brighter.
Raw, warm, and beautifully rendered, The Magnificent Spinster is a stunning achievementpart memoir, part epistolary recollection, and part novel within a novel about friendship, memory, and the power of a brilliant soul.