I think I read the first ten pages of the late fifties UK classic The Comforters about ten times over before I really got it. As it turns out, my reaction was not uncommon. The reader is supposed to be initially confused. Spark’s novel deliberately scorns omniscient narration, opting instead for a grand experiment in Bretchtian allegory. We learn about each character, each interaction, and each conversation as though we were observing it all passively, with no foreknowledge, like some persistent fly on the wall. As the novel progresses, a basic skeletal framework gradually develops into something grander, and within the concise space of two-hundred pages, Muriel Spark’s book reaches its conclusion. The effect deliberately mimics the creative process.