In her superbly accomplished new novel, Anita Brookner proves that she is our mast profound observer of women's lives, posing questions about feminine identity and desire with a stylishness that conveys an almost sensual pleasure.
From the moment Jane Manning first meets her aunt Dolly, she is both fascinated and appalled. Where Jane is tactful and shy, Dolly is flamboyant and unrepentantly selfish, a connoisseur of fine things, an exploiter of wealthy people. But as the exigencies of family bring Jane and Dolly together, Brookner shows us that we may end up loving people we cannot bring ourselves to like -- and that this paradox makes love all the more precious and miraculous.
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