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Cape, 1985 - Fiction - 187 pages
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An ironic novel of a wealthy family living in England and their relationships. Matriarch Sofka dotes on Frederic, her playboy elder son, grooms Alfred to care for the family business, and favors the youngest daughter, spoiled Betty, over her docile sister Mimi.

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Unlike Brookner's other novels, this one does not focus on a thirtyish, single woman but on a family of European descent living in England. If there is one major character, it is Sofka, the somewhat ... Read full review


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About the author (1985)

Anita Brookner is a novelist whose forte is the meticulous examination of the lives of unremarkable women. She portrays the women with dignity and tolerance. Brookner generates novels of intellectual and emotional compulsion. Brookner's novels evoke a near contemporary, Barbara Pym, and the tradition of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. But they reflect the realities of a generation later than that of Pym. For Brookner, a simple, pacific femininity no longer provides a respite from a danger that lurks throughout her world. Unhappiness, which Pym's characters bear with resignation, torments Brookner's sensibility. Hotel du Lac (1984) won the Booker Prize and remains Brookner's most acclaimed work. Cunning and formal in tenor, it probes the repressed secrets and fragile psychological condition of a writer, Edith Hope, who is recovering from the external world's threats and bruises and trying to reconcile the life of human passions with the life of the artist. Critics have rated the novel as one of the most important works in the genre of Kunstlerroman for the late modern period. A professor of art history, Brookner has taught at Cambridge University and the Cortauld Institute where she specialized in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century painting. In addition to her fiction, Brookner has written scholarly works about Jacques Louis David, Jean Baptiste Greuze, and Jean-Antoine Watteau.

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