A Family Romance by Anita Brookner

Five things I thought while listening to A Family Romance by Anita Brookner:

01. I can rely on Brookner for the sort of consistency that I love in Yates or Taylor.

02. So, so glad that there’s a bunch of Brookner on my library’s BorrowBox list and that it’s narrated by Fiona Shaw (whose voice has just enough plum to provide deeply satisfying listening).

03. A perfect character study. Dolly is a social-climber-extraordinaire; smart; transparent; frivolous; cunning; charming; a wizard; and ultimately, like the majority of Brookner’s characters, very much alone.

The tenderness undermined her. She preferred a more embattled attitude to life… Visits to Brussels seemed to yield more in the way of argument and patronage, two of her more preferred moods, as if she were eternally pitted against adversaries on whom she might decide to confer friendship.

04. Brookner knows her way around sharp social observations that contain a barb (but are disguised with tweed or a double-strand of pearls) –

Many a woman knows that on the level of her most basic imaginings she has not been satisfied, hence the look of cheerful forbearance which is the most recognisable expression on the face of the average woman.

05. Jane the feminist? I was not at all convinced by that plot twist.

3/5 Thoroughly enjoyable (a point off for 05. above).

Dolly eats a leek tart, not offering Jane any –

These lunches were workman-like, a refuelling stop before the business of the afternoon, which was usually bridge…

12 responses

  1. My library is trying to get me to join BorrowBox (they’re probably sick of me). I’ll borrow Brookner first up though can’t promise a review. Love savoury tarts, leek would suit me just fine, cold in my lunchbox.

    • How do you currently listen to audiobooks? On CD? I mostly listen while I’m walking so BorrowBox suits me (and it’s very user friendly with some great features).

      I love savoury tarts as well. More so than sweet ones.

      • I borrow CDs/MP3s from the library and use the USB port on my radio for music. I’ve been going to have to start downloading books for the last few years, and have kept putting it off.

      • My library also has the app Libby (which used to be called Overdrive but they’ve spruced it up) – alas, not a huge selection available that interests me (mostly mysteries and rural romance).

    • I’m not a fan of audiobooks but Fiona Shaw reading Anita Brookner intrigues me. Lewis Percy, Look At Me, and Latecomers are my favourite Brookners. I’ve loved her for thirty years.

  2. I read Hotel du Lac last year, my first Brookner. I did enjoy it and look forward to reading more. I’ll look for this one. I like character studies. I’ve used Overdrive often and just downloaded Libby.

  3. I overdosed on Brookner at the time of Hotel du Lac and haven’t been back in recent years. However, Fiona Shaw would definitely be enough to tempt me. I hadn’t thought about listening to the novels but I think they would work extremely well in this format.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.