'The Mandelbaum Gate', first edition,
'The Mandelbaum Gate' tells of Barbara Vaughan’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
In this novel, Muriel Spark tackled her broadest themes to date — international espionage, and the blurring of personal, religious, and political boundaries.
While it is Spark’s most realist depiction of character, mystery remains. As one character notes, ‘There’s no need for faith if everything is plain to the eye’.
Harold Macmillan, the former British Prime Minister, by this time retired from politics and back at the helm of Macmillan publishers, wrote that 'The Mandelbaum Gate' is 'by far the best book you have written … it is one of the best books I have read for a very long time'.
Spark won the 1966 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for 'The Mandelbaum Gate'. Macmillan wrote: 'This is a great honour for you and I like to feel that we share a little in the reflected glory'.
Spark replies that she was 'happy that it was awarded for the book you your-self enjoyed'.