Sunday 6 October 2019

Deserving of a Blue Plaque

Adam Scovell's piece (here) about Herne Hill and Brookner's birthplace is highly recommended, not least because it contains some intriguing biographical information. Anita was born, we learn, at 55 Half Moon Lane, a comfortable property Mr Scovell depicts in an appropriately wistful Polaroid; but later, following a decline in their affluence, the Bruckners/Brookners moved to a smaller place, a flat, at 25 Half Moon Lane.

Is it in The Next Big Thing (2002) that the fortunes of the protagonist's family are marked by just such a decline? One remembers Brookner's remark in 2002, in interview (here), when the similarities between herself and Julius Herz were put to her: 'He's me, really. You were longing to say that, weren't you?'


  1. This is so interesting - I read both of the links. My daughter lives in Herne Hill (opposite Brockwell Park) and I grew up chugging through the station on my way to and from even more suburban Bromley. I have sent Adam Scovell’s piece to my daughter.

    I didn’t know Brookner disliked her earlier novels. The first one I ever read was Hotel du Lac, which I remember asking my mother-in-law to buy for my birthday. I don’t know what happened to that copy but I don’t appear to have it now.

    The interview is quite something. It’s hard to tell if she really did wish she had been married or not.

    Thanks for another interesting post - I’m glad you came back.

  2. Very good to hear from you. Adam Scovell's piece is indeed a gem, as is the Brookner interview. Authors are not perhaps the best judges of their work; though one suspects a degree of dandyish posturing in the Ratner line she Duchess-like delivers. Two of Brookner's 1980s novels, A Misalliance and A Friend from England, have been out of print for many years in the UK, though not in America. Brookner expressed her misgivings about A Misalliance at the time, saying she didn't enjoy writing it and she'd 'written it off'.


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