Brookner, Anita The Misalliance

ISBN 13: 9780060971342

The Misalliance

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9780060971342: The Misalliance

Blanche Vernon is one of those discreet, smart women one sees in restaurants alone. Recently divorced, she considers it a matter of honour to keep herself busy, scrupulously carrying out ordinary tasks as I f they mattered, until darkness falls. She will then open a bottle of good red wine (which she does with increasing regularity) a cook herself a simple nourishing meal. She can still expect the occasional visit from her husband, Bertie, who a year ago defected to a capricious, childishly demanding computer expert called Mousie. Blanche is convinced it is her own misguided sense of stability, gentility and fair play which has led to this state of affairs, and that, if only she could have cultivated a more voluble, petulant nature, things might have turned out differently. Oddly, mutual friends do not see it this way: rather than consideringBlanch 'too sensible', general opinion has it that she has recently become insupportably eccentric - overly fond of literary allusions and piquant non-sequiturs - and moist irritating, she doesn't allow one properly to pity her. Blanch has mentally appropriated the child before she even knows her name - Elinor. The unnaturally grave three-year-old who sits mute in the local hospital where Blanche does volunteer work has never spoken I her short life. By comparison to this solemn, earth-bound creature, her mother Sally Beamish - all effervescence and weightless vitality - seems like a pagan nymph out of one of the paintings Blanche so often contemplates at the National Gallery. Childless herself, Blanche is wary of becoming too involved with these people emotionally, yet somehow they seem to require her help. Could the child's muteness be some kind of deliberate protest against the freewheeling chaos of life with Sally? Can Blanche provide some assistance without being drawn into the murky affairs which seem to lie at the heart of the family? Just as some women turn in loneliness to drink, to food or to shoplifting, Blanche notes with some irony that she has turned to flirtations with other lives, to good works and to uplifting pastimes. Hers is a memorable portrait of a woman living alone - one with the wit and means to step forward and grasp what has previously eluded her - but who is puzzled by the prospect. Anita Brookner's beautifully crafted novel is raw and painful yet as graceful and perceptive as anything she has written.

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Product Description:

After twenty years of marriage Blanche Vernon is alone; abandoned by her husband Bertie for a childishly demanding computer expert named Mousie. While Blanche finds this turn of events baffling, she feels that Bertie must have left her because of her overly sensible demeanor. Yet many of their mutual friends disagree. In fact, Blanche has come to be regarded as undeniably eccentric--making elliptical remarks that no one knows how to read, and chatting at great length about characters in fiction. She resolutely fills her unwanted hours with activities, maintaining her excellent appearance, drinking increasingly more wine, and, in an attempt to turn her energy to good works, becoming severely enmeshed in the life of a disordered young family.

About the Author:

Anita Brookner is an international authority on eighteenth-century painting, and teaches at the Courtauld Institute of Art. In 1968 she was Slade Professor at Cambridge, the first woman ever to hold this position. She is the author of Watteau; The Genius of the Future; Greuze; Jacques-Louis David; and the novels A Start in Life, Providence, Look at Me, Hotel du Lac and Family and Friends.

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Brookner, Anita
Published by Harpercollins (1988)
ISBN 10: 0060971347 ISBN 13: 9780060971342
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