Monday, 5 December 2016

An Obscure Purpose

The trip to Vienna had taught me something about my own resourcefulness, but had not answered my obscure purpose, a purpose too obscure for me to identify but which manifested itself as a steady discomfort. Vienna had been too beautiful, too distracting. I chose out of the way places, out of season: almost any town in France or Germany, however devoid of scenic interest, provided the sort of ruminative space which I seemed to require. One day, seated at a rickety metal table in a side street cafe in Dijon, I stealthily began to write.
A Family Romance, Ch. 8
This is Brooknerianism in a nutshell. The obscurity not just of the Brooknerian personage but of the Brooknerian writing project; the favouring of unpopular Continental locations; the disquieting desire to write ('a steady discomfort'); and the stealth (masterly word) with which the need is assuaged: great writers tell us how to live, and Brookner tells Brooknerians. It is as much as we can do not to race up to St Pancras and take the first train out, in ardent search of that rickety metal table,

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