'I never liked her, nor did she like me; strange, then, how we managed to keep up a sort of friendship for so long.'
Fay Langdon has relinquished her singing career to marry Owen, a highly successful solicitor. At one of their dinner parties Fay meets the glamorous, self-obsessed Julia and is destined to join the handful of acolytes who provide Julia with ammunition for her merciless scorn and disapprobation.
As the years pass and Fay and Julia's lives grow empty of purpose, they are drawn together by their fear of age and isolation. Yet a mutual mistrust continues to exist between them until Fay is driven to one last heroic act.
One of Brookner's best novels
Utterly absorbing . . . so great is Brookner's skill as a writer that you will find it difficult not to devour this brilliant novel at one long sitting.
A subtle and thorough exploration of the relationship between nostalgia and old age . . . Brooker [is] one of the bravest novelists around.
Compression, economy and the ability to conjure up an entire personality with a few adroitly chosen words. Brief Lives is a perfect demonstration of these gifts.