At the heart of Anita Brookner's new novel lies a double mystery: What has happened to Anna Durrant, a solitary woman of a certain age who has disappeared from her London flat? And why has it taken four months for anyone to notice?
As Brookner reconstructs Anna's life and character through the eyes of her acquaintances, she gives us a witty yet ultimately devastating study of self-annihilating virtue while exposing the social, fiscal, and moral frauds that are the underpinnings of terrifying rectitude.
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A wonder of poetic prose and gentle thought. Anita Brookner takes aim at frauds and those who pretend. One should always be themselves for everyone else is already taken! Anna lives alone, used to take care of her mother, and she is also used to being meek and subjective. She is pure, in a literal sense and she feels restless. Aunt Vera, who is not really Anna's aunt is patient with her, but finds her odd, for she is not married and she is so tiresome. Mr. Halliday is the doctor who filters through the pages, sometimes reminiscing and at others, he is checking-up on some patient, one or the other. The reader gets the background through short passages put sparingly, but that is not to say that one does not understand them. They are moments when the I felt happy and joyous at the simple life and daily routine whith which these characters live. Albeit, the story is slow, it is interesting to try to figure out the eventual ending, which is very rueful and gives a feeling of waywardness. Very abrupt, but if the story were to continue, well, it might have been just too boring and not that excitable mocking tone that kept you reading. Superbly and avidly written with a cautious mind, a hand with a firm grasp on the pen.