Friday 19 February 2021

Incidents in the Rue Laugier reread: 'To be so free of earthly ties!'

Chapters 7 and 8 comprise the 'incidents'. Masterly and languid, the chapters lengthen, like those monsters in the immediately previous two novels, A Private View and A Family Romance. Brookner plays on familiar themes: the 'mythical status' of Tyler recalls any number of earlier godlike characters on whom Brookner, fascinated though appalled, turned her basilisk stare, most recently the terrible Katy Gibb in A Private View; and the moment of a life's turning point, here, as in Family and Friends, taking place in Paris.

Recruited to the cause is great art, a Samson and Delilah in the Louvre (Moreau?) and Masaccio's Eve, in Florence, the latter a fine representation of the fallen world Edward and Maud, sans Tyler, must now inhabit.

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