The Bay of Angels

The Bay of Angels

3.23 (297 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
By (author) 

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Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • AudioGO Limited
  • Chivers Large print (Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & C
  • Bath, United Kingdom
  • Large type / large print
  • Large type edition
  • 0754015394
  • 9780754015390

Review Text

The prolific Brookner ("Undue Influence", 2000, etc.) marries subject and style in this slight novel about a woman of stoic rectitude who measures her success in life by her ability to adapt and make do..Zoe grows up in contented isolation with her widowed mother until she is 16, when her mother, perhaps less content, marries the kindly but domineering Simon, who whisks Zoe's mother away to a villa in southern France. He provides generously for Zoe, but though she is invited to spend as much time as she likes in France, she prefers life in her own flat. Living alone, she graduates from college, begins the perfect bloodless career as researcher, and has an on-again-off-again affair with a not very nice young man. When he dumps her for good, she does not let herself grieve openly. And while she mentions having friends, none are visible or even imaginable. She accepts her lonely life as perfectly adequate. Then her stepfather dies, practically penniless as it turns out, and her mother sinks into a vague, languorous illness. Zoe spends the rest of the story and her meager finances going back and forth between England and France, finalizing the estate and visiting her mother, first in the hospital and then at a rest home run by nuns. She develops a prickly but affection-flecked connection with her mother's doctor, an episode as close to romantic love as Zoe is likely to get. After her mother inevitably fades away and dies, Zoe finds a compromise between the safe detachment of her London life and the slightly more emotionally charged experience France affords..While her language is as beautifully precise and insightful as ever, Brookner's reticence is too much like Zoe's. She holds her characters, including Zoe, at such a distance that they never become interesting in a novel so understated that it ends up undercooked as well.. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

297 ratings
3.23 out of 5 stars
5 10% (31)
4 27% (80)
3 42% (125)
2 16% (49)
1 4% (12)
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