Beatrice and Miriam are sisters, sharing little except an unhappy childhood. Beatrice is a pianist, a romantic, while Miriam is disillusioned after a failed marriage. While they have a home and a few acquaintances in common, neither confides to the other what is in their hearts.
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Anita Brookner has no illusions about desire--or illusion--yet she is well aware of their unrelenting power. In her 18th novel, Falling Slowly, two sisters lead lives of quiet but no less painful panic. Beatrice Sharpe, a classical accompanist who is at the end of her career and health, has long dreamed of the protection of men. Alas, what her older sister, Miriam, thinks of as a "disastrous innocence" seems to have imprisoned and defeated her. Miriam, on the other hand, who is in her late 40s and divorced, prides herself on her strategies for getting through the long London days. Her work as a translator, though not ultimately fulfilling, keeps her occupied and marginally undefeated.
Both had been taught by their parents to expect little and complain less, yet they are surrounded by a world of interconnection and privilege that is ever out of reach. The narrative offers Miriam first the possibility of passion (illicit and guilt-making) and then a chance for commitment. Since we are in Brooknerland, you can guess how this will turn out. Beatrice is considerably less fortunate. At one point, the two discuss a Colette tale. The more knowing Miriam decides that the author comes out of it better than her characters, because she's the onlooker. Beatrice, surprisingly, has the last word: "There must be some consolation for being an onlooker," she realizes. "The role is not always an enviable one." Out of such seemingly minor moments, Brookner creates a tragedy, her exquisite, controlled sentences sculpting broken lives in which control itself is the culprit. --Kerry FriedFrom the Back Cover:
"Anita Brookner works a spell on the reader; being under it is both an education and a delight."--The Washington Post Book World
"Brookner's control over the material is absolute."--Jane Smiley
"Under Brookner's transforming eye, the most ordinary lives become engrossing adventures."-- San Francisco Chronicle
"If Henry James were around, the only writer he'd be reading with complete approval would be Anita Brookner."--The New York Times Book Review
"Brookner is a writer of great skill and precision. Passages of brilliant writing abound, hard-won insights that startle us with Brookner's clarity and succinct intelligence."--Michael Dorris, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Brookner's impeccable craftsmanship and worldly irony make each of her novels memorable."--Publishers Weekly
Praise for Anita Brookner:
"Few contemporary novelists can match Ms. Brookner's consistently high level of achievement: the penetration of her vision, the sense of conviction in what she is doing, and the unforced elegance of her writing."--The Wall Street Journal
Praise for Visitors:
"Visitors may be the book Brookner has spent her life aiming for."--The New York Times Book Review
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 140277072
Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0140277072