Dramatic fiction which consists of human behavior and foibles never fails to remind me why I read fiction. And the finest writers of this genre surely includes Anita Brookner’s name.
A Closed Eye is the story of Harriet Lytton who’s a woman of submissiveness and self-denial is suddenly tested by the prospect of a sexual awakening. For much of Harriet’s decision in life are made by her own parents that makes her reclaim what was lost and to arrange what is left for her and being careful enough not to hurt the ones around her. Thus I guess makes up for the title.
Although Brookner’s prose may bore some readers (although I find it unique not like her contemporaries), reading her makes one feel as if they’re reading a novel from a great 19th century novelist (Henry James in particular which is an obvious inspiration). A Closed Eye is narrated in third person but the author’s intelligent style (which I feel unique) makes you understand every character thought even the minor ones. But the sudden shift of point of view, demands continuous attention. On reading this particular title, I might say that this not an easy read -although it only contains 263 pages- (in my copy), for if you’re looking for a constantly changing plot, this will leave you disappointed because the author focuses on her characters lives and their behavior which somehow adds up to much of their disappointments that makes the story move. The novel makes me cheer for the heroine at times and continuously makes my lips curved that without a doubt this is an exciting read. And although I’ve enjoyed reading this one, I am positive that this is not the author’s best work for it lacks something which I cannot reason out. I think I just expected something and become disappointed that I found less of it. Don’t get me wrong about this but with the author’s subtlety of perception, clarity and precision (making the story more believable) makes me look forward for her other works. Recommended? Yes, especially for diligent readers.
Opening Sentence: ‘My dear Lizzie,’ (she wrote), ‘No doubt you will be surprised to hear from me after all this time, and from such a strange place.
*the first words of the novel are address so I write the first sentences.
Ending Sentence: When my little girl was young.