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Leaving Home
Anita Brookner
1400064147
January 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Brookner's narrators often combine a Jamesian inner life with a deceptively blank external one, and Emma Roberts is a paragon of that type. An English doctoral student in the late 1970s whose restraint matches her choice of studies—classical garden design—Emma grew up isolated with a widowed, reclusive mother. "We loved each other greatly," she says, "yet so exclusive was that love that it was experienced more like anguish." Emma is studying in Paris and living as hermetically as her mother; her only acquaintances are a sexually adventurous librarian, Françoise, and a reserved young novelist, Michael. When Emma gets word that her mother has died, she rushes home to London and within weeks finds herself in a muted, epistolary power struggle with Françoise. Meanwhile,...


The House of Mirth
Edith Wharton
068480123X
Aug 1995
Paperback
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Book Review
"The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth," warns Ecclesiastes 7:4, and so does the novel by Edith Wharton that takes its title from this call to heed. New York at the turn of the century was a time of opulence and frivolity for those who could afford it. But for those who couldn't and yet wanted desperately to keep up with the whirlwind, like Wharton's charming Lily Bart, it was something else altogether: a gilded cage rather than the Gilded Age.

One of Wharton's earliest descriptions of her heroine, in the library of her bachelor friend and sometime suitor Lawrence Selden, indicates that she appears "as though she were a captured dryad subdued to the conventions of the drawing room." Indeed, herein lies Lily's problem. She has, we're told, "been...



Rules of Engagement
Anita Brookner
0641663501

Hardcover
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Understanding Anita Brookner
Cheryl Alexander Alexander Malcolm
1570034354
January 2002
Hardcover
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Book Description
Understanding Anita Brookner examines the undeniably bleak view of the world in Brookner's fiction and the solitary protagonists whose "faith in a better world" is both their tragedy and their beauty. Cheryl Alexander Malcolm acquaints the reader with Brookner's distinguished career (first as an eminent art critic and historian, then as a writer), critical acclaim and awards, London birth and lifelong residence, and Polish Jewish family background. She examines the limited range of literary forms with which Brookner, abjuring the postmodern devices of jumbled chronologies and multiple narrators, contents herself. She illustrates Brookner's recurrent point of view, characterized by traditional British cultural values—understatement, deference to authority, and acceptance of a class system. Despite her aloofness...


Hotel du Lac
Anita Brookner
0679759328
October 1995
Paperback
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Book Review
Edith Hope (a.k.a. romance author Veronica Wilde) has been banished by her friends to a stately hotel in Switzerland. During her stay she befriends some of the other guests, each of whom has his or her own tale. Edith struggles to come to terms with her career and love--the lack, the benefits, and the meaning thereof.

From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen
In the beginning of this novel, we know only that Edith Hope, "a writer of romantic fiction under a more thrusting name" has been banished to the Hotel du Lac, a "quiet hotel ... in which she could be counted upon to retrieve her serious and hard-working personality and to forget the unfortunate lapse which had led to this brief exile." Penelope, the friend and neighbor responsible for sending Edith away...


The Custom of the Country
Edith Wharton
0140181903
Jan 1990
Paperback
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From AudioFile
Edith Wharton's novels of manners seem to grow in stature as time passes. Here she draws a beautiful social climber, Undine Sprague, who is a monster of selfishness and honestly doesn't know it. Although the worlds she wants to conquer have vanished, Undine herself is amazingly recognizable. She marries well above herself twice and both times fails to recognize her husbands' strengths of character or the weakness of her own, and it is they, not she, who pay the price. Barbara Caruso can't make Undine sympathetic; no one could. But she makes her believable, quite miracle enough, and renders Undine's slash-and-burn progress toward what she thinks will make her happy utterly absorbing. B.G. © AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Jack...


Look at Me
Anita Brookner
0679738134
January 1997
Paperback
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From Library Journal
"A stunning character study," said LJ's reviewer of this novel (LJ 4/1/83), which centers on love, friendship, and the loss of both in the hollow life of English medical librarian Frances Hinton.Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Falling Slowly
Anita Brookner
0375704248
Jan 2000
Paperback
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Book Review
Anita Brookner has no illusions about desire--or illusion--yet she is well aware of their unrelenting power. In her 18th novel, Falling Slowly, two sisters lead lives of quiet but no less painful panic. Beatrice Sharpe, a classical accompanist who is at the end of her career and health, has long dreamed of the protection of men. Alas, what her older sister, Miriam, thinks of as a "disastrous innocence" seems to have imprisoned and defeated her. Miriam, on the other hand, who is in her late 40s and divorced, prides herself on her strategies for getting through the long London days. Her work as a translator, though not ultimately fulfilling, keeps her occupied and marginally undefeated.

Both had been taught by their parents to expect little and complain less, yet they are surrounded by a world of interconnection and...



Art and Life in the Novels of Anita Brookner: Reading for Life - Subversive Re-Writing to Live
Eileen Williams-Wanquet
0820459380
January 2004
Paperback
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Undue Influence
Anita Brookner
0375707344
Jan 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
A new Anita Brookner is unlikely to surprise, unlikely to shock or disturb. Yet her fiction remains utterly compelling. Undue Influence, her 19th novel, follows the usual pattern: a single, bookish woman, whose life is dominated by loneliness and the seeming impossibility of marriage, has her forlorn equilibrium disturbed by an unsuitable attraction. At 29, Claire Pitt is one of Brookner's younger alter egos--financially independent, clever, emancipated but empty. When she sees Martin Gibson in the secondhand bookshop where she works, Claire is beguiled. I looked at my watch and realized that he had been silently reading for thirty-five minutes. By this time he could have had one or two of Heine's poems off by heart. Either that or he was translating them. Perhaps he too was a man of letters. But he looked too ineffable,...


The Bay of Angels
Anita Brookner
0375727604
Apr 2002
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
The heroines of Brookner's 20 novels are usually passive, introspective, lonely women, leading quiet lives of muted emotions. Zoe Cunningham is typical of the breed at the beginning of this excellent novel. The daughter of a self-contained widow, Zoe is pleased when her mother agrees to marry elderly, wealthy and generous Simon Gould, who carries his new wife off to his villa in the south of France. When, after a few months, Simon dies suddenly, surprising events unfold. Simon, it seems, was about to run out of money and did not even own the sumptuous villa. Zoe, whose university degree has led to a series of freelance editing jobs in London and, more important, the freedom that she craves arrives in Nice to find that her mother has suffered a breakdown and is in a clinic undergoing a sleeping cure. Ensuing...


Plane of Uncreatedness: A Phenomenological Study of Anita Brookner's Late Fiction
Inger Bjorkblom
9122019189
June 2001
Paperback
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Unconsoled
Kazuo Ishiguro
0679735879
September 1996
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
A renowned pianist finds himself in a mysterious and dreamlike urban maze. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
As stylistically distinctive as his acclaimed The Remains of the Day (LJ 10/1/89), Ishiguro's newest work offers a different kind of protagonist. While Remains's butler was at odds with himself (without knowing it), prominent concert pianist Ryder is at odds with his surroundings. Ryder arrives in an unidentified European city at a bit of a loss. Everyone he meets seems to assume that he knows more than he knows, that he is well acquainted with the city and its obscure cultural crisis. A young woman he kindly consents to advise seems to have been an old lover and her son quite possibly his own; he vaguely recalls past...


The Portrait of a Lady
Henry James
0375759190
Feb 2002
Paperback
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From AudioFile
With amazing vividness, Nina Foch essays Henry James's earliest (1881) and perhaps most accessible masterpiece. A penniless American girl is brought to Europe where her beauty, ingenuousness, and naïveté attract a variety of suitors. In spite of wanting to do everything right, everything comes out wrong in this perceptive, subtle, and multilayered psychological novel, which Foch plays like a musical instrument. A rather loud one -- she hits all the notes correctly but coarsely. The effect is like a bordello pianist--albeit one with nimble fingers--playing Chopin on an old upright. A maladroit abridgment causes occasional confusion. Lackadaisical engineering adds stridency and calls attention to edits. Y.R. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This...


Rules of Engagement
Anita Brookner
1400075300
February 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
To read Brookner is to be reminded of fiction's potential to stun, with full, complex characters in a richly imagined world, as she draws on her insights into human nature to explore the strained yet enduring friendship of two women of "the last virginal generation." Born in 1948 and friends from childhood, the open, eager-to-please Betsy and the cooler, analytical Elizabeth appear to have little in common. But they share many things, including stubbornness, strength and, dangerously, the same married lover. Seen through the eyes of 50-something Elizabeth, the novel chronicles the often devastating choices the two women make as they age; as such, it is more a book of thought than action. The reclusive Elizabeth, conscious of the mysterious "virtue attached to being a witness," dissects the minutest of human...


Latecomers
Anita Brookner
0679726683
Feb 1990
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
This tender study of a friendship between two men is extraordinary for the beauty of its prose and its sheer depth of feeling. Hartmann and Fibich, united as schoolboys when they were refugees from the Nazis, are now partners in a London printing business--and respond to their shared past in quite different ways. "Brookner has produced a quiet little masterpiece," said PW. Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Separated from their families in Nazi Germany, Fibich and Hartmann grow up in England to become inseparable allies, friends, and business partners. Charming Hartmann chooses to live in the present with every sybaritic comfort, while gloomy Fibich must live in the present because he fears the future and is haunted by a past he cannot...


The Debut
Anita Brookner
0679727124
Feb 1990
Paperback
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Review
"Precise and haunting...Brookner is a master at creating miniaturist portraits of attenuated lives"

-- The New York Times

"An almost flawless novel." -- People

"Sly, detached humor has caused Brookner to be compared to Barbara Pym, but her vision is darker and more complex .... Brookner's ambitions exceed those of Pym's genteel novels of manners and place her outside the genre, to which her writing, with its delicate shadings of character, otherwise seem suited."-- The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Anita Brookner is a stunning writer." -- Edna O'Brien

"Deft, lively and quite touching." -- Mary Gordon

Review
"Precise and haunting...Brookner is a master at creating miniaturist portraits of attenuated...


A Friend from England
Anita Brookner
1400095212
July 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
While written in her usual cool, clear, controlled prose, this novel is a bit of a departure for Brookner, less acerbic and ironically witty than her most recent work, Family and Friends, and invested with a bit more suspense. While it is not brimming over with action, specific events do occur; but the novel's outstanding feature is Brookner's preternaturally acute rendering of the delicate nuances of human behavior. The narrator is Rachel, who at 32 has determinedly insulated herself from intimate relationships, narrowing her independent existence to her work in a London bookstore, of which she is part owner, and to a few discreet "adventures" when she travels. She has "imposed certain restraints on her feelings," has "resolved never to consider the world well lost for love." While the circumstances of her...

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