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Incidents in the Rue Laugier

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Overview

Anita Brookner tells of Maud Gonthier, a demure and serious young woman from Dijon, who is introduced to desire by the fascinating, rich David Tyler. They meet one summer at her aunt's comfortable country home; the innocent Maud falls instantly and passionately in love. She follows Tyler to Paris, and when he abruptly disappears, Maud is left with his friend Edward to pick up the pieces of her life.

Demure Maud Gonthier from Dijon expects the usual uneventful summer ...

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Incidents in the Rue Laugier

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Overview

Anita Brookner tells of Maud Gonthier, a demure and serious young woman from Dijon, who is introduced to desire by the fascinating, rich David Tyler. They meet one summer at her aunt's comfortable country home; the innocent Maud falls instantly and passionately in love. She follows Tyler to Paris, and when he abruptly disappears, Maud is left with his friend Edward to pick up the pieces of her life.

Demure Maud Gonthier from Dijon expects the usual uneventful summer vacation at her aunt's country home, but when the charming, sensuous, rich David Tyler arrives, Maud falls madly in love. Crafted with Brookner's unmistakable and elegant prose, this superb novel explores responsibility and the results of sexual passion and betrayal.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Six cryptic journal jottings in her French-born mother's hand drive Maffy, initially the narrator of Brookner's (Dolly) potently crafted novel, to fabricate Maud Gonthier Harrison's single ardent girlhood affair. Having reproduced the mysterious inscription in Maud's notebook (``Dames Blanches. La Gaillardier. Place des Ternes. Sang. Edward.'') and a scrap of Proust, Maffy teasingly begs the reader, ``Please accept me as an unreliable narrator,'' then vanishes, to appear only ``inadvertently'' in the tale that follows. Now in a third-person voice, Maud's story takes on a pulsating reality, involving her with charismatic ``scoundrel'' David Tyler and his friend since Cambridge, Edward Harrison-the man Maud finally marries. The triangle, erotic and latently homoerotic, forms during a sensual, heat-drenched season of the 1950s in the French countryside; then the three drift to a borrowed house on Paris's rue Laugier. Lost in love's delirium, Maud sees Tyler as an ``Apollo,'' a careless divinity who descends to sport with her and Edward, while emotionally damaging them forever. With delicate brilliance, Brookner probes Maud's and Edward's early family lives (Tyler, in contrast, appears from nowhere, born of mythically rich parents) to reveal how they become so entrapped. Like other Brookner heroines, Maud has a controlling mother whose tie with her is as intricately knotty as Maud's relationship is with the men. Edward, inflamed by Maud because of Tyler, grasps his own bewildering role as voyeuristic, feminine, childlike, servile and protective. With Tyler's withdrawal, Maud and Edward grow resignedly chill as they refashion their lives and tilt their relationship into a new imbalance, while the reader turns pages compulsively for a dazzling read in which every sentence seems clairvoyant. (Jan.)
Library Journal
After relating the life of a boring, angst-ridden man in A Private View (LJ 2/1/95), Brookner turns the tables with this passion-filled story of a woman whose beau suddenly disappears while in Paris.
Donna Seaman
Brookner's novels are emotional petri dishes filled with complex little cultures, and her authorial eye functions like a microscope as she observes all the squirming and twisting that goes on as her characters form and dissolve relationships. This novel, this microcosm, is particularly intriguing. As usual, Brookner reveals the passions percolating behind the facade of proper lives: the struggle of wills between parents and children and the paradoxes inherent in sexuality and marriage. It's 1971 and France is in the languid embrace of a very hot summer. Nadine, a nunlike widow, and her only child, the beautiful but terribly reserved Maud, are spending their holiday at Nadine's pretentious sister's summer home. Both are pleased at the arrival of two Englishmen, the dangerously seductive Tyler and Edward, a rather passive fellow preoccupied with his recent surprise inheritance of a used book shop. Maud, of course, falls for Tyler and accompanies him and Edward to Paris, where her careless lover quickly takes his leave. Edward discerns that the distraught and penniless Maud is pregnant, and in a strange act of chivalry and revenge, offers to marry her. Maud, still enthralled by Tyler, accepts. What sort of marriage will result from this loveless union of duty, envy, and fear? Leave it to Brookner to work out all the subtle, quite deliciously disturbing and telling details.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568953014
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 3/28/1996
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.33 (h) x 0.95 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2002

    INCIDENTS is a PROBE INTO HELL.

    A writer creates a 'fiction' about her mother; a quiet woman who dies young. Based on the mother's journal (containing a recipe, a line from Proust, little else, and numerous blank pages)as well as faded memory; begins a lightning fast introspective into the mother's (a young woman's) affair with a magnetic, sexy young man during glorious days in Paris. But the story will take a turn, in its own good time, and this same young woman will bear a child and die before her time, living a quiet life in England. How her life is devistated, and how she hides the damage until her early escape into death, is the story. ANITA BROOKNER, the best novelist living today offers no compromise or easy (false) answers. Like her earlier 'ALTERED STATES' this novel will knock you out. Like Arctic turtles, newborn, scrambling for life on the rocky shore where only a few will live; these characters fight for their happiness tho few will make it.

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