Saturday 1 December 2018

A Private View: Chapter by Chapter: 10, 11

  • Bland, with Katy, sees himself almost as a novelist with one of his characters. Compare Bland with Mrs May in Visitors, who experiences a similar creative thrill, though the circumstances of her shipwreck are less extreme, more sublimated.
  • One is lost in admiration at the excellence of Brookner's clairvoyance: 'The strange odyssey that he had planned for them had indeed something childlike about it, proof of his own childlike wishes, in which sex and sin played no part.'
  • The books we read in our youth retain a special magic, and A Private View is one such for me. I read innocently then, or more innocently than I might now - by which I guess I mean I 'identified' with George Bland. Reading the novel again, I identify again, and again sink back in sheer admiration at the fineness of the writing, the intensity and ingenuity of the analysis. There really are some masterful passages. Is it, then, my favourite Brookner? I couldn't say. I thought that was The Next Big Thing. But it is a thing to marvel at, a thing to be grateful for.

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