Early one morning, late in July, the villagers of ‘crack-brained Brensham’ woke to a remarkable spectacle. There amid the customary colours of furze and wheat was a seven-acre field that ‘had suddenly become tinctured with the colour of Mediterranean skies’. Nothing like it had ever happened before, so that the villagers caught their breath at the sight of this miracle: a great, vivid patch of cerulean ‘so clear and pure that it made one think of eyes or skies’ . . .
These beautiful book spines by John Watson first appeared on the contents page of issue 54 of Slightly Foxed, and we liked them so much we wanted to share them with our readers around the world. Now, if you order a gift-wrapped present for a fellow book-lover, we’ll tie it up with our signature foxed ribbon, and hand-write your personal message on a handsome gift tag bearing this wood engraving.
I first came across Spark when working in a little second-hand bookshop off the Charing Cross Road. A battered tome of her selected works was on sale in the outside pile, desolately stationed there to be picked over by tourists and dampened by rain. Not having much to do (the shop closed a month later, not necessarily because I’d worked there) I started reading one afternoon, and was hooked. For while Muriel Spark makes you laugh out loud, she also makes you think – she must, I feel, have been a formidable dinner-party companion, quietly sitting there with her razor-sharp tongue . . .