Friday 19 February 2021

Incidents in the Rue Laugier reread: very sexy

Her next novel - which, her annual cycle working as it does, she has already finished - is 'about a passionate love affair', she says, and 'very sexy, though the act itself is never described. Physical description is never necessary. It's reductive. These matters are secret. Or should be. It's a matter of truth, too. Much sexual description is boasting, self-promotion, display. I would want sex to remain unknown by those to whom it's not relevant. I don't know why I have to go out with a placard.'

Interview in the Independent, 1994

The novel is, of course, Incidents. Is it indeed 'very sexy'? It is certainly picturesque in its depiction of late summer in rural France: 'A golden light lay on the park; beyond the spacious lawns the trees of the little wood stood motionless'. There's a kind of faintly clichéd Go Between atmosphere to the thing. I am sure my earlier readings were more indulgent.

One further point about chapter 4. This line: 'This was something she was used to do'. One finds these lapses from time to time. One guesses that by 1995 Brookner was difficult to edit. One must console oneself by recalling the inelegances one sometimes encounters in Jane Austen: things like the superlative being used to distinguish between a pair of items. Always fun to find.

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