themandelbaumgatemuriels39182_f.jpgAnyone who has been reading this blog over the past year will know that my love for Muriel Spark knows no bounds, and that since her death in 2006 (?) I have embarked on a project to read all of her novels in order, followed by her collected short stories and her memoirs. Only I’ve hit a bit of a snag with The Mandlebaum Gate. This is the first of her novels that I hadn’t read before (I devoured her stuff when I was a student) and it is set (and was written in) the early 1960’s about Barbara Vaughan, half-Jewish convert to Roman Catholicism who, while waiting to find out if her lover will obtain an annulment of his first marriage, goes on a pilgrimage to vist the holy sites in Israel and Jordan.

It started off really well, I was making great progress and now, slightly more than half way through, I’ve come to a complete halt. I do still want to know how things are resolved as Barbara apparently disappears in Jordan, but have no enthusiasm at the moment.  I refuse to entirely give up and will put it aside for a revisit later on, but am so disappointed, and not sure what to do about continuing the project until I know whether I’m ever going to finish this book. Oh dear.

And by the way blurb-writer, since when is a book written and published in 1965 and set in 1961 a historical novel?