Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Misalliance

The Misalliance is a 1986 novel by Anita Brookner. I like Brookner's writing style and enjoy reading about the characters she chooses.

favorite quote:
"I incline to think that there are no bad. Indifference to the good is all that is needed."
from the back of the book:
The Misalliance is one of those rare books -both highly praised by the critics and an immediate best-seller in England.

As in Hotel du Lac, Anita Brookner has created a wonderfully eccentric heroine. Blache Vernon is one of those discreet, smart women one sees alone in restaurants. Recently divorced, she considers it a matter of honor to keep herself busy,scrupulously carrying out ordinary tasks as if they mattered, until darkness falls. She will then open a bottle of good wine (which she does with increasing regularity) and cook herself a simple, nourishing meal. She can still expect the occasional visit from her husband, Bertie, who a year ago defected to a capricious, childishly demanding computer expert called Mousie.

Blanche is convinced that it is her own misguided sense of stability, gentility, and fair play that has led to this state of affairs, and that things might have turned out differently if only she could have cultivated a more voluble, petulant nature. Oddly, mutual friends do noy see it this way: rather than considering Blanche "too sensible," general opinion has it that she has recently been insupportably eccentric -overly fond on literary allusions and piquant non sequiturs- and, most irritating, she doesn't allow anyone to properly pity her.

Just as some women turn in loneliness to drink, to food, or to shoplifting, Blanche notes with some irony that she has turned to other lives, to good works, and to uplifting pastimes. Here is a memorable portait of a woman living alone -a woman with the wit and the means to step forward and grasp what has previously eluded her but who is puzzled by the prospect. Anita Brookner's beautifully crafted novel is raw and painful, yet as graceful and perceptive as anything she has written.

The Paris Review has an interview with Brookner in which they discuss how this book differs from her others in being longer and more sentimental.


  1. That sounds like a good read, one I might enjoy reading.

    1. i really do like the way she writes.

  2. I've read some Brookner books in the past and enjoyed them, I'm going to look for this at the library. Thanks for the review.


    1. i wish i knew how to write a proper review. as it is, at least i'm keeping a good enough report on the books i've read so that i can remember them in years to come.