Latecomers is a 1989 novel by Anita Brookner, one of my favorite authors. This is the story of two men, refugees from Nazi Germany, and their lives and relationships and families through the years. They are life-long friends and professional partners into old age but couldn't be more different in how they deal with the past.
quotes from the book:
There are many children who have been told, "Never mind. You are the clever one", and who have never got over it.
Ah, he thought, the truth bursting on him suddenly, nobody grows up. Everyone carries around all the selves that they have ever been, intact, waiting to be reactivated in moments of pain, of fear, of danger. Everything is retrievable, every shock, every hurt. But perhaps it becomes a duty to abandon the stock of time that one carries within oneself, to discard it in favour of the present, so that one’s embrace may be turned outwards to the world in which one has made one’s home.
The LA Times closes with this:
With unruffled serenity, as if she had all the time in the world and no fear of losing the reader's attention, Brookner carefully, lingeringly, and searchingly explores the becalmed, cushioned, melancholy world of these two well-off bourgeois families. Yet here is wonderful economy in her leisureliness: Within a mere 248 pages, she has compressed a lifetime of subtle changes, four lifetimes, really, from dimly remembered childhood to encroaching old age.
Kirkus Reviews concludes, "As elaborately layered as a German torte, but reassuring as an English tea biscuit, devoid of any indigestible surprises -one, no doubt, to be gobbled up by the Brookner faithful." Publishers Weekly says it "shows [Brookner] at the peak of her form" and concludes, "In this tender study, Brookner has produced a quiet little masterpiece."
I have read a number of books by this author since I began blogging: