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Anita Brookner
Adult Fiction BROOKNE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When youth and age collide, the fallout, as charted by veteran Booker Prize winner Brookner, is funny, unexpected and moving. At 70, Dorothea May has been a widow 15 years. She enjoys the small freedoms of her dull but comfortable existence and just tolerates the only family she has‘her husband's two cousins, Kitty and Molly, and their spouses. When Kitty's American granddaughter comes to London to get married, Kitty prevails on Thea to put the best man up at her flat for a few days. As it turns out, the groom, a self-described "bearer of the message of Jesus," and the bride, a homeopathic therapist who rejects the idea of dressing up "just to get hitched," aren't exactly the endearing young people Kitty has imagined. And Steve Best, the best man, is just as bad, a drifter whose ambitions seem limited to checking out the local music scene. But, as they spend more time together, and as old family skeletons pop out of the closet at wedding time, Thea comes to like Steve's solitary nature and his occasional bouts of wit. Brookner remains an exquisitely subtle observer of how manners bear the imprint of psyches. Her portrait of how the wedding tumult and Steve's presence make Thea aware of her interior life‘and her dreams and recurring memories‘is moving without being sentimental. In the end, it's a delight to watch Thea take courage upon entering her old age, which she describes, with a quiet excitement, as "a country without maps." (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Dorothea May is a typical Brookner heroine, a not atypical comment in a review of Brookner's works, for Brookner is nothing if not consistent in delivering a certain kind of novel: finely crafted portraits of lives that aren't exactly blighted but are constrained and gray. Mrs. May has lived alone since the death of her beloved husband, whom she married rather late in life, and if she regrets not having children, she keeps her feelings well under control. Then her husband's cousin asks her to put up a young man arriving in town for the wedding of the cousin's granddaughter‘a big, spoiled girl from America who has flown in casually with her crusading Christian husband-to-be and doesn't appreciate the fuss. When her unwanted guest arrives, Mrs. May tries to make it clear that he is hardly welcome but is somehow charmed by his insouciance. This would not be a true Brookner novel if Steve were a whirlwind sweeping Mrs. May into his grip, and he's not; he's a rather affectless young man, but his presence subtly changes Mrs. May, making her feel that she is "now being called to account" and ruining years of carefully constructed habit. The result is a charming, incisive little novel that won't sweep readers off their feet, either, but will make them rethink how locked into habit we all become. For most collections.[Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/97.]‘Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Thea (Dorothea) May
Age: 70s

Steve Best

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