by Anita Brookner


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At the heart of Anita Brookner's new novel lies a double mystery: What has happened to Anna Durrant, a solitary woman of a certain age who has disappeared from her London flat? And why has it taken four months for anyone to notice?

As Brookner reconstructs Anna's life and character through the eyes of her acquaintances, she gives us a witty yet ultimately devastating study of self-annihilating virtue while exposing the social, fiscal, and moral frauds that are the underpinnings of terrifying rectitude.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679743088
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/28/1994
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 268
Sales rank: 291,525
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Anita Brookner was born in London and, apart from several years in Paris, was a lifelong Londoner. She trained as an art historian and taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art until 1988. She is the author of twenty-seven books, including the Booker Prize–winning novel Hotel Du Lac. She died in 2016.

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Fraud 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
kayclifton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once again, Anita Brookner delves into the lives of unattached and isolated women with the parallel story lines of Anna Durrant and Vera Marsh. Anna, the only child of widowed Amy is left with the shards of her life when her mother dies. "They had loved one another despairingly: that was their undoing. And despair in love merely prolongs its intensity, as well as its duration which is forever". Vera on the other hand has had a satisfying marriage but with the death of her husband and old age beginning to take its toll, she must cope with loneliness and loss without falling into the trap of dependence on her adult children. Neither of the women are memorable characters but the mysterious disappearance of Anna and the final unfolding of its mystery did not seem to to fit in with the behavior patterns which Anna had developed from half a lifetime of practical and emotional dependence on her mother.
jsmontover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The novel tells the story of Anna Durrant, a woman who has spent most of her 50 years caring for her mother, Amy. The novel begins with Anna's physician becoming alarmed when she has been missing for four or five months. Using the guise of what begins as a typical mystery, the police are summoned regarding the disappearance of this middle-aged woman. We then become acquainted with Anna Durrant, the missing protagonist, through the author's exploration of the character of her mother, "friends" and acquaintances, and their relationship with Anna and with one another. Brookner explores the minds of her characters with clarity and understanding. The author thoroughly examines human relationships and the difficulty we have in truly understanding one another. The novel addresses love and friendship on many levels. Even though the author reveals an inner loneliness and despair which privately exists within most of us, the novel leaves us with a final sense of optimism, that it is never too late to accept oneself, to overcome other's perceptions and to seek one's own happiness.
Brasidas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
DRAFT---Still readingThere is something slightly time-warped about Anita Brookner's novels. She often writes about this world of British widows. But I don't think such a community of widows really exists today, even in Britain, as much as it did, say, in the 60s and 70s. Cardiac care is better. Husbands are living longer. So there's this slight anachronism at the heart (sorry) of Brookner's narratives. It's interesting, she quite nimble at keeping current events and real people out of her novels as a means of not dating her prose. Yet this world of widows dates her books as much as anything. There are cars, but no microwaves or cell phones. There is television, but no GPS devices or PCs. Her characters are almost always in late midlife or elderly. Moreover, she has absolutely no qualms about taking on "grim" subjects such as aging, infirmity and impending death; if anything, she embraces these subjects. All that considered, within her self-imposed limitations, she is a wonderful writer. Her grammar is precise. Her vocabulary has these wonderful throwbacks to Victorian literature. She uses words like ineluctable and hieratic, equanimity and homage, which one finds oneself reading with the aspirated aitch, in the British manner. Generally set in London, with jaunts to Paris, the south of France and sometimes Spain, the books are nothing if not British. For this stateside reader they provide the essential prerequisite that all reading matter must meet: it must show me another, almost alien world. (It's hard for me to read Anne Beatty, say, since that's the world I grew up in and and I absolutely have no interest in its recreation.) But Brookner with her very British stories, well, one might as well be reading of life in Sumatra or Valparaíso, so strikingly different is the moral life and interpersonal considerations these characters embrace from my own. FRAUD begins with the disappearance of Anna Durrant. Anna, a do-gooder who always seems to annoy those she helps by her overbearing cheer, is utterly alone in the world. She is first noticed to be missing by her housekeeper, who notices that money has not be put out for her as usual. The few people in her life, her doctor among them, a man by the name of Halliday who rejects the "good" Anna for a manipulative sexpot, grow concerned. She was last seen 3 months ago. Slowly, Anna's life of service to her frail mother is revealed. She had given up everything for this mother. The result is isolation and loneliness. Then one day her frail mother passes out in a public place and is brought home by a man by the name of Ainsworth, who subsequently becomes the mother's lover. Anna is aghast that this almost shut-in mother is suddenly leading this athletic sex life; something Anna has never had. "He was too glossy, too plausible, and her mother too flushed, too pretty. She was aware of a disturbed scent in the air, as if her mother were warm and excited, just as she was to be aware, later, of Ainsworth's brutal stink in the bathroom and the bottles of cologne he poured over himself in order to become the lover and to dispel the natural man."
manbooker1989 More than 1 year ago
A wonder of poetic prose and gentle thought. Anita Brookner takes aim at frauds and those who pretend. One should always be themselves for everyone else is already taken! Anna lives alone, used to take care of her mother, and she is also used to being meek and subjective. She is pure, in a literal sense and she feels restless. Aunt Vera, who is not really Anna's aunt is patient with her, but finds her odd, for she is not married and she is so tiresome. Mr. Halliday is the doctor who filters through the pages, sometimes reminiscing and at others, he is checking-up on some patient, one or the other. The reader gets the background through short passages put sparingly, but that is not to say that one does not understand them. They are moments when the I felt happy and joyous at the simple life and daily routine whith which these characters live. Albeit, the story is slow, it is interesting to try to figure out the eventual ending, which is very rueful and gives a feeling of waywardness. Very abrupt, but if the story were to continue, well, it might have been just too boring and not that excitable mocking tone that kept you reading. Superbly and avidly written with a cautious mind, a hand with a firm grasp on the pen.