I thought that this book title and a review would be a good introduction so here goes!
Anita Brookner teases and puzzles me. Her character, Frances Hinton’s thoughts and feelings written in the first person seem almost impossible to separate from what one would imagine were Brookner’s own. Looking at a photograph of the author displays the parallels with the character’s own physical attributes. That being said, the map that Brookner lays out for Frances follows paths that eventually seem to lead her back to her starting point. Since her life felt unfulfilled and she lives it as a self-described observer, her journey’s end leaves the reader with the sadness and dissatisfaction of a life half-lived. It’s also difficult to ascertain how Brookner feels about Frances’ inability to make changes that might lead to a more fulfilling life. In spite of the book’s total preoccupation with Frances’ inner life I was always fascinated and never bored by it and I attribute that to Brookner’s skills.