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A Closed Eye (Vintage Contemporaries)


A Closed Eye (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover

ISBN13: 9780679743408
ISBN10: 0679743405
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In A Closed Eye, Anita Brookner explores, with compassionate insight and stylistic brilliance, the self-inflicted paradoxes in the life of Harriet Lytton, a woman whose powers of submissiveness and self-denial are suddenly tested by the dizzying prospect of sexual awakening.

In Harriers gallant struggle with the single great temptation that comes her way, Brookner creates a hauntingly flawed heroine and a study in the evasions and disappointments that make up all our lives.


"Brookner's latest novel reads like a clinical report on loneliness, idleness, and the inability of people to relate to one another. Her characters are unconvincing, even though she jumps in and out of their consciousnesses to report on their reflections and speculations. Her interminable analysis, with little dialogue or action, and unsympathetic characters, makes tedious reading. The story centers on Harriet Lytton who, having grown up poor in a cramped life, marries a man her father's age hoping his money will ease life for her and her parents. Like other Brookner heroines, she is a meek, self-effacing woman who allows herself to be used by a self-centered, vain, flashy friend. Her vain, arrogant daughter, whom she adores, dominates her. Brookner is a respected art historian and former lecturer at the Cortauld Institute, as well as a prize-winning
novelist (Hotel du Lac). It is puzzling, therefore, that she writes about idle people who do little but fix cups of tea, take walks, and wait for things to happen. Critics have compared her writing to that of Henry James and Jane Austen, but she lacks James' elegance, and Austen's gift for irony and humor. When she untangles herself from her obsession with the weak, worthy woman who subordinates herself to the self-serving worthless one, she will write another fine novel." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)

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Haverstock Hill, November 20, 2011 (view all comments by Haverstock Hill)
A Closed Eye. I've read this book several times. I find Brookner's writing compelling because it penetrates the inner jungle of ennui and inertia and turns what would seem so barren and empty into fascinating territory. One is intrigued, frustrated and held in suspense as the story takes the reader into the heart of a kind of darkness nobody would wish to linger in. Free will vanishes under the weight of the conventions and family obligations that the character submits to - here it's Harriet Lytton, mother of the ghastly Imogen and wife of an elderly and constipated husband. Reading this book is another opportunity to examine that swamp seething with subtle but relentless forces that keep Harriet Lytton from soaring into the kind of love and passion she longs for. Anita Brookner often pulls fine erotic threads through her stories and in A Closed Eye, Lydia is holding such a thread and the reader is left wondering if she will finally weave it into her own life.
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Product Details

Brookner, Anita
Vintage Books
Brookner, Anita
New York :
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Vintage Contemporaries (Paperback)
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.01x5.22x.59 in. .52 lbs.

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

A Closed Eye (Vintage Contemporaries) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 272 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679743408 Reviews:
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