A wonderful book about a woman who has spent her life trying to escape into her books. Unfortunately, she becomes convinced that her life has been ruined by literature and she decides that she needs to start her life again.
A very good, but quick read...
This story follows Ruth Weiss, a young woman who lives a meaningless life overshadowed by her parents, George and Helen. Helen formerly counted herself among the B actors in London. Now she rarely leaves her bedroom. George formerly ran an antiquarian book store where he did less selling than fussing.
Ruth at some point attends he University where she studies Balzac. I suppose this book has some intertwining of themes with Balzac that will make it more meaningful but as I've not yet read him I did not pick up on them if they were there.
All three lead pathetic lives. Ruth moves back in with her parents because a date shows up late. Helen cant be bothered to do anything except lay in bed and recount tales of her glory days. George sells the store but drops in daily to help the new owner because he has nothing better to do with his life. The only character who participates in her own life is Mrs. Cutler, the housekeeper. At first she is pretty sad herself. But at some point she gets moving and decides to find herself a husband. Not that people must be married but at least it showed some gumption on her part. The others have none. So perhaps there is some intended meaning to be gained from examining the life 'not lived'.
All of that being said I suppose one would think that I did not care for this book but I did. I cared for it a great deal and found it to be very well written & very interesting. This was my first Brookner but it won't be my last.