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Strangers by Anita Brookner
  

Strangers

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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.

If you like Anita Brookner you might also like to read books by Bernice Rubens, A S Byatt and Penelope Fitzgerald.

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Synopsis

Strangers by Anita Brookner

'He was haunted by a feeling of invisibility, as if he were a mere spectator of his own life, with no one to identify him in the barren circumstances of the here and now'. Paul Sturgis is retired and lives alone in South Kensington. He walks alone and dines alone, taking pleasure in small exchanges with strangers. His only acquaintance is a widowed cousin whom he visits on Sundays. Unable to make sense of his solitary nature, and fearing death among strangers, he wonders whether at last he might be ready for companionship. But a chance meeting with an old girlfriend and an encounter in Venice with a recently divorced younger woman compel Sturgis to decide how (and with whom) he will spend the rest of his days...

Reviews

Nothing less than brilliant, often highly amusing and, ultimately life affirming * Sunday Telegraph * Each book is a prayer bead on a string, and each prayer is a secular, circumspect prayer, a prayer and a protest and a charm against encroaching night -- Hilary Mantel * Guardian * The beauty and precision of Brookner's writing is rightly praised each time she publishes a novel, but what is less often remarked on is her daring...like Graham Greene, she draws the reader into a world that has a character and signature all of its own...Brookner's wry, dry lightness of touch creates a bloom on the darkness of her characters
sufferings

...Strangers is a novel of sober brilliance, and the unerring, unflinching Brookner is still a much underestimated novelist -- Helen Dunmore * The Times * No one writes with more skill and honesty about the human condition and this book is possibly her finest -- Julie Myerson * Observer Books of the Year * A novel of great stylistic beauty and psychological truth...the pitiless depiction of the final stages of life - and the refusal to allow her characters any consolation - makes Strangers as great a reflection on fear and regret as Philip Larkin's poem Aubade or Beckett's Endgame -- Mark Lawson * Guardian * In the hands of a lesser novelist, her stories of human frailty would be depressing, but she manages to make them sparkle with life - and always with hope...consistently absorbing * Daily Telegraph * Strangers is, in its own way, definitive. A more frightening, demoralising account of how hard life can be, without work, and above all without family, would be difficult to conceive...Brookner has given classic expression to what she sees to be a central truth of the human condition, absolute loneliness at the last...nothing less than a great horror story -- David Sexton * Evening Standard * Anita Brookner is a distinguished and defiant writer whose books occupy a unique place in English literature. Her subject is the best one: the definition of human nature. Although her novels often convey the loneliness inherent in the human condition, they do so in such an acute and bold way that loneliness itself is shown to be a state as tempestuous and startling as any other sort of crisis. In Brookner's hands, in her descriptions so vivid and exact, it can be exhilarating...her books are unfailingly well written, they give voice and a sense of fierce entitlement to a sort of existence that might otherwise go unrecorded...Brookner's is a literature that may be harsh but it is absolutely necessary -- Susie Boyt * Independent * Paul Sturgis is a brilliant and affecting creation by a writer whose empathy runs deep, and whose pitch is perfect...a brisk and moving story * Spectator *


About the Author

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th January 2010

Author

Anita Brookner

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Publisher

Penguin Books Ltd

Format

Paperback
208 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780141040264

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