Thursday 8 February 2018

The Next Big Thing: The Wrong Country

After examining the photograph he had the fleeting feeling that he was in the wrong country.
Anita Brookner, The Next Big Thing, ch. 6

The Next Big Thing links most obviously with Strangers and A Private View, but in its subtle and reticent treatment of the Holocaust its truest confrère is probably Latecomers. In particular one thinks of the restaurant scene between Hartmann and Fibich in that earlier work. It is so understated that one can almost overlook it as the novel's climax:
He dropped his head, made a helpless gesture with his hand and knocked over a glass of water.
'Fibich!' said Hartmann warningly, summoning a waiter.
'I should have gone back,' whispered Fibich. 'I should not have left. I should have got off the train.' (Ch. 14)

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