Strangers
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Strangers

3.38 (639 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'He was haunted by a feeling of invisibility, as if he were a mere spectator of his own life, with no one to identify him in the barren circumstances of the here and now.'

Paul Sturgis is a retired banker manager who lives alone in a dark little flat. He walks alone and dines alone, seeking out and taking pleasure in small exchanges with strangers: the cheerful Australian girl who cuts his hair, the lady at the drycleaners. His only relative, and only acquaintance, is a widowed cousin by marriage - herself a virtual stranger - to whom he pays ritualistic visits on a Sunday afternoon. Trying to make sense of his current solitary state, and fearing that his destiny may be to die among strangers, Sturgis trawls through memories of his failed relationships and finds himself longing for companionship, or at the very least a conversation.

But then a chance encounter with a stranger - a recently divorced and demanding younger woman - shakes up his routine and when an old girlfriend appears on the scene, Sturgis is forced to make a decision about how (and with whom) he wants to spend the rest of his days . . .

'Each book is a prayer bead on a string, and each prayer is a secular, circumspect prayer, a prayer and a protest and a charm against encroaching night' Hilary Mantel, Guardian

'No one writes with more skill and honesty about the human condition and this book is possibly her finest' Julie Myerson, Observer

'A novel of great stylistic beauty and psychological truth. As great a reflection on fear and regret as Philip Larkin or Beckett' Guardian

'Like Graham Greene, she draws the reader into a world that has a character and signature all of its own . . . Strangers is a novel of sober brilliance, and the unerring, unflinching Brookner is still a much underestimated novelist' Helen Dunmore, The Times

Anita Brookner was born in south London in 1928, the daughter of a Polish immigrant family. She trained as an art historian, and worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art until her retirement in 1988. She published her first novel, A Start in Life, in 1981 and her twenty-fourth, Strangers, in 2009. Hotel du Lac won the 1984 Booker Prize. As well as fiction, Anita Brookner has published a number of volumes of art criticism.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 18mm | 140.61g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New ed.
  • 0141040262
  • 9780141040264
  • 127,822

Review Text

Nothing less than brilliant, often highly amusing and, ultimately life affirming Sunday Telegraph
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Review quote

Nothing less than brilliant, often highly amusing and, ultimately life affirming * Sunday Telegraph * Each book is a prayer bead on a string, and each prayer is a secular, circumspect prayer, a prayer and a protest and a charm against encroaching night -- Hilary Mantel * Guardian * The beauty and precision of Brookner's writing is rightly praised each time she publishes a novel, but what is less often remarked on is her daring...like Graham Greene, she draws the reader into a world that has a character and signature all of its own...Brookner's wry, dry lightness of touch creates a bloom on the darkness of her characters' sufferings...Strangers is a novel of sober brilliance, and the unerring, unflinching Brookner is still a much underestimated novelist -- Helen Dunmore * The Times * No one writes with more skill and honesty about the human condition and this book is possibly her finest -- Julie Myerson * Observer Books of the Year * A novel of great stylistic beauty and psychological truth...the pitiless depiction of the final stages of life - and the refusal to allow her characters any consolation - makes Strangers as great a reflection on fear and regret as Philip Larkin's poem Aubade or Beckett's Endgame -- Mark Lawson * Guardian * In the hands of a lesser novelist, her stories of human frailty would be depressing, but she manages to make them sparkle with life - and always with hope...consistently absorbing * Daily Telegraph * Strangers is, in its own way, definitive. A more frightening, demoralising account of how hard life can be, without work, and above all without family, would be difficult to conceive...Brookner has given classic expression to what she sees to be a central truth of the human condition, absolute loneliness at the last...nothing less than a great horror story -- David Sexton * Evening Standard * Anita Brookner is a distinguished and defiant writer whose books occupy a unique place in English literature. Her subject is the best one: the definition of human nature. Although her novels often convey the loneliness inherent in the human condition, they do so in such an acute and bold way that loneliness itself is shown to be a state as tempestuous and startling as any other sort of crisis. In Brookner's hands, in her descriptions so vivid and exact, it can be exhilarating...her books are unfailingly well written, they give voice and a sense of fierce entitlement to a sort of existence that might otherwise go unrecorded...Brookner's is a literature that may be harsh but it is absolutely necessary -- Susie Boyt * Independent * Paul Sturgis is a brilliant and affecting creation by a writer whose empathy runs deep, and whose pitch is perfect...a brisk and moving story * Spectator *
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About Anita Brookner

Anita Brookner was born in south London in 1928, the daughter of a Polish immigrant family. She trained as an art historian, and worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art until her retirement in 1988. She published her first novel, A Start in Life, in 1981 and her twenty-fourth, Strangers, in 2009. Hotel du Lac won the 1984 Booker Prize. As well as fiction, Anita Brookner has published a number of volumes of art criticism.
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Rating details

639 ratings
3.38 out of 5 stars
5 14% (88)
4 34% (217)
3 34% (217)
2 14% (90)
1 4% (27)
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