No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Anita Brookner was born in London in 1928, spent some postgraduate years in Paris and taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art until 1988. Of her novels Penguin publish: Lewis Percy, A Start in Life, Brief Lives, Hotel du Lac, A Closed Eye, Providence, Family and Friends, Look At Me, Fraud, A Family Romance, A Private View, Incidents in the Rue Laugier, Altered States, Visitors, Falling Slowly and Undue Influence. She died in March 2016.
Shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction 2010. A novel about old age and loneliness and perhaps not the cheeriest of books but Brookner exposes the main character’s vulnerability in an eloquent and moving way. A thought provoking read.
"e;Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature."e;Die mittlerweile vierzigjahrige Ruth Weiss ist schon, intelligent - und einsam. Die Literatursuchtige sucht bei Balzacs Heldinnen Antworten auf die Fragen des Lebens und der Liebe und sinnt daruber nach, wo in ihrer Kindheit und Jugend die Ursachen dafur liegen, dass sie zu einer so einzelgangerischen Existenz wurde. Dabei schien doch anfangs alles noch so hoffnungsvoll, als sie als junge Frau in Paris ein neues Leben begann ...Schon Anita Brookners Romandebut ist ein vollendetes Stuck Literatur. Tessa Hadley zahlte ihn im Guardian zu den funf besten ihrer 24 Romane und nannte ihn "e;schwarzhumorig, duster, und sehr, sehr witzig."e;
Anita Brookner's first novel, available as a Penguin Essential for the first time. 'Dr Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.' Ruth Weiss, an academic, is beautiful, intelligent and lonely. Studying the heroines of Balzac in order to discover where her own childhood and adult life has gone awry, she seeks not salvation but enlightenment. Yet in revisiting her London upbringing, her friendships and doomed Parisian love affairs, she wonders if perhaps there might not be a chance for a new start in life . . .
'I never liked her, nor did she like me; strange, then, how we managed to keep up a sort of friendship for so long.' Fay Langdon has relinquished her singing career to marry Owen, a highly successful solicitor. At one of their dinner parties Fay meets the glamorous, self-obsessed Julia and is destined to join the handful of acolytes who provide Julia with ammunition for her merciless scorn and disapprobation. As the years pass and Fay and Julia's lives grow empty of purpose, they are drawn together by their fear of age and isolation. Yet a mutual mistrust continues to exist between them until Fay is driven to one last heroic act.
'I have reached the age when a woman begins to perceive that she is growing into the person whom she least plans to resemble: her mother.' Nadine has always wanted her daughter Maud to be married and off her hands. When the two women are staying at Nadine's sister's house near Meaux, they become part of a sophisticated, wordly group into which neither Maud nor Edward Harrison, a young visitor from England, seem to fit. Maud is swept off her feet by David Tyler, a stylish, irresponsible young man who robs her of her innocence and disappears. Edward, forced into adulthood by his inheritance of a bookshop, and thus a career, takes Maud into his care. But for both of them the shadow of Tyler is always there, illuminating their feelings of inadequacy, disappointment and loss.
'I was foolish enough to think that I was strong enough, and cheerful enough by nature, to avoid unhappiness. I was not yet old enough to see that I was in error.' Alan Sherwood is a cautious, solitary London solicitor who finds himself obsessed by his glamorous cousin Sarah. But Sarah is self-seeking and predatory and their short-lived affair leaves Alan desolate. He finds distraction in Angela, a homely, needy acquaintance of Sarah and they drift into marriage. Alan, however, is haunted by his memories of Sarah, and, attempting to recapture the wordless passion of their time together, he arranges a final meeting. It is an act of betrayal that changes his life for ever.
'Literature for me was a magnificent destiny for which I was not yet fully prepared.' Paul and Henrietta Manning and their solitary, academic daughter Jane have nothing in common with Dolly, widow of Henrietta's brother. Corseted and painted, Dolly is a frivolous, superficial woman, who has little time for those without that inestimable quality - charm. Jane, in particular, falls into this category, especially after the death of her parents. But Jane has money - and a conscience - and these bind her to Dolly. Through disagreements, disappointments and disapprovals, Jane and Dolly are enmeshed in an uneasy alliance in which history and family create closer ties than friendship ever could.
'Without warning, it seemed, she had become a married woman.' Naive and undemanding, Harriet Lytton expects very little of life and that is what she recieves. Married to a respectable man old enough to be her father, Harriet's only taste of passion comes when she meets Jack Peckham, the unruly, attractive husband of her friend Tessa. Tessa and Harriet have for many years been bound together by their childhood friendship and the imposed alliance of their two daughters, Imogen and Lizzie. But events conspire to shatter the gentle rhythm of Harriet's life. Tragically restrained by her own cautious choices, she faces the cruellest losses of all: those of hope and desire.