Paul and Henrietta Manning and their solitary, academic daughter Jane have nothing in common with Dolly, widow of Henrietta's brother. Corseted and painted, Dolly is a frivolous, superficial woman, who has little time for those without that inestimable quality - charm.
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.
The novel is nearly as perfect an instance of its genre as it is
reasonable to ask. * Frank Kermode, Spectator *
This is vintage Brookner: all exquisite understatement, acute observation and razor-sharp dissection of motive. * Time Out *
This small history unfolds slowly, with delicious wit or bitter pathos, and finally with a marvellous, lingering human resonance. * Sunday Express *
Compelling . . . some classic Brookner quality stays in the mind; questions hover, polite but uncomfortable, long after the final page. * Times Literary Supplement *