Saturday, 4 March 2017

'A Wedding'

Missing from the archive, as it were, are Anita Brookner's short stories. One is rather glad she never wrote them. I've never much enjoyed short stories. Does anyone, really?

In my earliest days as a Brookner fan, I became aware of what seemed to have been a Brookner story, 'A Wedding', published in an old copy of Granta. The 1984 date and the title suggested, perhaps, connections with Hotel du Lac or, more likely, Family and Friends. But I was hopeful for a lost classic.

I searched old bookshops and the like. This was in that golden or that dark time before the Internet. I never found what I was looking for - but of course it's online now, and only a click away.

And of course it's only the opening chapter of Family and Friends.

There were no more such 'stories'. There was 'At the Hairdresser's' in 2011, but that always seems like a short novel. One is indeed relieved Brookner steered clear of the short story form. At their worst short stories are just a way for writers to make a quick buck, while longer projects mature. And they're also very much the province of the 'professional' writer, the writer for whom writing is his or her only occupation. Brookner wasn't like that. She'd already had a career. This isn't to say novel writing was her hobby. But the project was playful, and in that way somehow more serious a concern than it could ever be for her apparent peers.

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