‘The Leaf-Sweeper’ by Muriel Spark

The Leaf-Sweepr by Muriel Spark, 1953

The magic trick:

Creating obvious symbols that resist obvious meaning

Today’s feature is full of holiday cheer. Kind of?

There are parts that are funny, parts that are creepy.

What I most appreciated is the way the story uses tropes that should reasonably create symbols or allegory – and yet, ultimately, it resists any obvious, coherent meaning.

And that’s quite a trick on Spark’s part.

The selection:

Johnnie was living with his aunt then. I was at school, and in the Christmas holiday Miss Geddes gave me her nephew’s pamphlet, How to Grow Rich at Christmas. It sounded very likely, but it turned out that you grow rich at Christmas by doing away with Christmas, and so pondered Johnnie’s pamphlet no further.

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