This novel is an elegantly crafted masterpiece on the dangers of power in prejudiced hands. The formidable Miss Jean Brodie of the title is a schoolteacher who moulds her favourites, known as the ‘Brodie set’ into mini versions of herself: cultured, opinionated and extraordinarily snobbish. That she is a teacher rather than an empress or warrior queen is the only thing that prevents this leading to a battle of epic proportions.
With most books these days presented in the first or third person, the omniscient viewpoint is an unfamiliar beast, but in author Murial Spark’s hands it transforms into a skilled tool that takes us on sweeping journeys through minds and times. Far from being linear, the action flickers back and forth, relying on us to keep up, and keep track, of everything we’re being shown. Continue reading