Thursday, 13 April 2017

Roman à clef

I have been reading John Banville's The Untouchable, which was inspired by the life of Anthony Blunt. I was hopeful of finding in its pages a character based on Brookner. None is detectable. She herself reviewed the novel, maintaining as ever an obliquity, not to say an opaqueness, in her references to her former boss. I have heard it said she was the only one of his colleagues who didn't realise he was gay. This was advanced as proof of her maidenly unworldliness. It was surely anything but - for was there ever more of a worldling than Anita Brookner? It was evidence, rather, either of an admirable discretion or of a respectful incuriosity. One would hope for more of her kind in this intrusive, over-sharing age.

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