Friday 19 February 2021

Incidents in the Rue Laugier reread: Paris

Chapter 5 finds us at last in the rue Laugier and again on familiar Brookner ground: Paris. Characters free but anxious and disenchanted in Paris abound: Sturgis in Strangers, Herz in The Next Big Thing. Paris is here, as there, bigger and more dangerous than in the characters' dreams and memories.

I recognise in myself such feelings. I haven't been to Paris in more than a decade, but I used to be a regular. I think on my last visit, in something like 2009, I was, like Edward in Incidents, debilitated by the unexpected largeness of the place, its monumentalism. In dreams one traverses great spaces with ease, and there is little traffic.

John Bayley said of George Bland in Brookner's 1994 novel, A Private View, as he endures a crisis of nerves in Nice, that one might contemplate his situation indefinitely. But the plot must go on. And so it must here too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Questions and comments are always welcome. (Please note: there will be a short delay before publication, as comments are moderated.)