Books Magazine

The Lifelong Rift Between Muriel Spark And Her Son

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

Muriel Spark passed away in 2006 at the age of 88.

In her will, Spark left her entire estate (valued at millions of dollars, according to The Standard) to a female friend of over 40 years.

The surprise here is that Spark’s only son, Robin, got nothing from her estate. She went so far as to write a sealed letter detailing her reasons for cutting him out of the will in case his attorneys came after the money.

According to The Standard, “she walked out on him when he was just six to write novels and seek fame and fortune. That was 62 years ago and the rift between the two was never healed.”

During a book signing in Edinburgh, not long before her death, she said “I think I know how to best avoid him by now” when asked if she was going to see her son.

Spark’s Wikipedia page also says the two had a falling out when Robin (an Orthodox Jew) petitioned for his late grandmother (Sparks’ maternal grandmother) to be recognized as Jewish. Muriel Spark was a devout Catholic and wasn’t having any of it.

Robin is an artist and his mother apparently wasn’t much of a fan. The Scotsman quotes her as saying, “I don’t think he’s any good, and nothing will make me say so.”

Ouch.

This is nothing new, though. Many a famous author has had serious rifts with other family members. Remember what Hemingway’s mom had to say about him?

There’s got to be something about that mix of ego, creativity, and insecurity that makes relationships so difficult for many a writer.

Image: Muriel Spark (via Wikimedia Commons)


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