Saturday 24 December 2016
More Women than Men
In Howards End is on the Landing Susan Hill reviews her collection of books. She eventually gets round to Anita Brookner's novels. Could they, she wonders, have been written by a man? Hill has no answer to this somewhat unpromising question, and indeed can offer little illumination more generally on a writer she's plainly a fan of. Counterfactuals seldom do lead anywhere very profitable. Nor it is especially fruitful to enquire into the gender profile of Brookner's readership. Brookner knew she was read by men as well as by women; the topic is covered in interview. Men probably do read her differently, but there are surely other variables to be borne in mind: race, age, sexuality, class. Ah yes, class. Do non-Brits realise how significant, how over-riding a factor social class is, even today? What was Brookner's? Or was she, as a child of immigrants, somehow outside the system? - like Kitty Maule, 'difficult to place'?