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