Generic Brookner, Anita Undue Influence

ISBN 13: 9780140284157

Undue Influence

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9780140284157: Undue Influence

Undue Influence is the nineteenth novel by Anita Brookner, the Booker Prize winning author of Hotel du Lac.

Enigmatic Claire is 30 and lives alone. When she meets Martin Gibson, a faded scholar, she becomes inordinately interested. She is even more interested when she meets his wife, a far more spectacular personality. But the unexpected news of this woman's death releases emotions that were not entirely foreseen.

'All of Brookner's novels are great, but this is one of the best . . . Brookner, though acclaimed, deserves more excitement, more rapture from us. Hotel du Lac and the Booker Prize were a long time ago, and it's not her fault if she has bloomed equally brightly every year without fail. I think we're taking her for granted if we don't jump up and celebrate this book right now' Julie Myerson, Independent on Sunday

'Her technique as a novelist is so sure and so quietly commanding' Hilary Mantel, Guardian

'She is one of the great writers of contemporary fiction' Literary Review

Anita Brookner was born in south London in 1928, the daughter of a Polish immigrant family. She trained as an art historian, and worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art until her retirement in 1988. She published her first novel, A Start in Life, in 1981 and her twenty-fourth, Strangers, in 2009. Hotel du Lac won the 1984 Booker Prize. As well as fiction, Anita Brookner has published a number of volumes of art criticism.

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Review:

A new Anita Brookner book is unlikely to surprise, unlikely to shock or disturb. Yet her work continues to be utterly compelling. This, her 19th novel, follows the usual pattern: a single, bookish woman, whose literary life is dominated by loneliness and the seeming impossibility of marriage, has her forlorn equilibrium disturbed by an unsuitable attraction.

Claire Pitt, at 29 one of Brookner's younger alter egos, is financially independent, clever, emancipated but empty. When Martin Gibson comes down to the basement in the second-hand bookshop where she works, Claire is beguiled. Her desire to be part of the story she tells herself about Martin's probable life leads her to provoke the quiet crisis so indicative of a Brookner dénoument.

Brookner, who is seen by some critics as the embodiment of Jamesian exactitude, as almost prissy, is really quite the opposite. An almost pathological writer, Brookner returns again and again to her notion of the inability of modern women to think of marriage as something that will rescue them--and yet who are pulled towards the ideal (an ideal they easily deconstruct) of a romantic saviour. The ubiquity of a particular, melancholic despondence saturates her work; disappointment dominates. Despite the humour, the erudition, the classical elegance of her prose, Brookner is a modern, bitter writer. Few writers have the ability to create such complete characters and then dissect their motives so clearly. Few writers have the skill to delineate the emotional complexity of the domesticated manners that mark our inability to communicate with one other. Undue Influence is another triumph of profound, psychological investigation from one of England's finest writers. --Mark Thwaite

Review:

All of Brookner's novels are great, but this is one of the best ... Brookner, though acclaimed, deserves more excitement, more rapture from us. Hotel du Lac and the Booker Prize were a long time ago, and it's not her fault if she has bloomed equally brightly every year without fail. I think we're taking her for granted if we don't jump up and celebrate this book right now (Julie Myerson Independent on Sunday)

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