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SUPERBOOK: The Bay of Angels

india Updated: Jul 08, 2006 14:34 IST
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The Bay of Angels
Anita Brookner
Price — Rs 720 (Hardbound)
Publication — Viking

Another Anita Brookner! It appears that I have found a treasure chest. I must admit that reading Brookner is pure joy. She is one author who has kept certain old world sensibilities despite staging her coups in the modern age. Reading Brookner is similar to reading Jane Austen.

One can see the striking form that regulated the heroines of both Austen and it is the same in any Brookner novel. The Bay of Angels is set amidst the beauty and sunshine of France.

Like her earlier novels, Brookner finds that certain charm in the old world aristocracy that falls like a mist upon the upper class French. This is my third Brookner and I am surprised how she weaves her stories.

Her narrative, in The Bay of Angels, is like a lush forest of scented cedar and cinnamon. One has to carefully pick his way through them. The joy of it all lies in knowing that one has all the time in the world, and perhaps more.

Once again it is the narrative that creates the magic I have come to associate so strongly with Brookner. The story of Zoe Cunningham and her mother plays only the part of the structure upon which the narrative is based.

The serenity of thought and expression and the linking of the visible and the invisible world around with one’s senses is a marvellous attempt. One finds that right in the first line of the Booker winning novel Hotel du Lac. And the same exists in The Bay of Angels.

Perhaps in a world where humans matter more than anything else, their relation to themselves is as important as their relation to ‘nature’. One finds that in Brookner —an attempt to lead the reader through an open door to a world beyond.

A place where misfortune is more than compensated by the beauty of life in its totality.

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