Friday, 14 April 2017

He can be a bit...

'I'll give him a call. You'll be quite safe with him.'
This was met with some cheerful sniggering, which I ignored...
'At the Hairdresser's', Ch. 4

'Chris is taking you home?' asked Sally, at reception.
'No, not today.'
'Was he okay? Only he can be a bit...'
Ibid., Ch. 8

Fissures open up all over the place in this most troubling of texts. Are the girls in the salon in league with Chris? They certainly recommend the arrangement. What do they know? There are other unfathomables, not least Chris's ambiguous sexuality, resonant in the first of the quotes above. If 'At the Hairdresser's' had evolved into a novel, as I suspect had been the intention, Brookner would probably have explored these matters more fully. But the work's very spareness presents us with a degree of potential not found in her other fiction.

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