Saturday 15 April 2017


Indirection: a Brooknerian word:
One had simply to exist, in a state of dreamy indirection, for the plot to work itself out.
The Bay of Angels, Ch. 1

And in a review of William Trevor's stories, she praises their Chekhovian plotlessness, discretion, indirection. She might, of course, be speaking of her own fiction, but for the moment I want to think about reading. Having recently reread Brookner's twenty-first century novels, I find myself like Elizabeth Warner in 'At the Hairdresser's' at a loose end with 'nothing to read'. Some re-readers proceed chronologically; others follow leads. I might be tempted, for example, inspired by the Venetian scenes in Strangers, to read A Friend from England next - alongside The Wings of the Dove, say. I don't know. Perhaps I shouldn't be so ordered; perhaps I should, like Polonius, by indirections find directions out.

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