Memento Mori

Introduced by Lucy Ellmann
Series Editor Alan Taylor

by Muriel Spark

Memento Mori

Widely considered one of the best novels of the 1950s, Memento Mori was Muriel Spark’s third novel and was published in 1959.

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SKU: 9781846974274 Category:


Described by David Lodge as ‘her first masterpiece’, Memento Mori opens with a telephone call and the words ‘Remember you must die’. Over several months, a circle of elderly men and women receive similar calls and everyone becomes a suspect. As the investigating police inspector muses: ‘Death, when it approaches, ought not to take one by surprise. It should be part of the full expectancy of life. Without an ever-present sense of death, life is insipid. You might as well live on the whites of eggs.’ While immersed in the indignities of old age, dementia and death, this novel is both profoundly compassionate and entertaining.

This is one of the 22 novels written by Muriel Spark in her lifetime. All are being published by Polygon in hardback Centenary Editions between November 2017 and September 2018.

Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918. A poet, essayist, biographer and novelist, she won much international praise, including being twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The Times placed her eighth in its list of the Fifty Greatest British Writers Since 1945. She died in Tuscany in 2006.

Zoë Strachan was born in Kilmarnock in 1975. Her first novel, Negative Space, was published by Picador in 2002. Zoë teaches on the Creative Writing Programme at the University of Glasgow and is on the board of directors of the Glasgow Women’s Library.


The Publishers acknowledge investment from Creative Scotland towards the publication of this book.

Supported by the Muriel Spark Society.


ISBN: 9781846974274

Publication date: 05/04/2018

Format: Hardback

Publisher: Birlinn Ltd

Stock status: Published

Categories: Birlinn/Polygon