With this novel, Booker Prize-winning author Anita Brookner confirms her reputation as an unparalleled observer of social nuance and deeply felt longings. Brief Lives chronicles an unlikely friendship: that between the flamboyant, monstrously egocentric Julia and the modest, self-effacing Fay, who is at once fascinated and appalled by Julia's excesses. Thrust together by their husbands' business partnership -- and by a guilty secret -- Julia and Fay develop an intense bond that is nonetheless something less than intimacy, a relationship in which we see our own uneasy compromises, not only with other people, but with life itself.
"Anita Brookner works a spell on the reader; being under it is both an education and a delight." -- Washington Post Book World"Brookner [is] a writer of great skill and precision. Passages of brilliant writing abound, hard-won insights that startle us with Brookner's clarity and succinct intelligence." -- Michael Dorris, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Compelling...Brookner's vision of human behavior is scrupulously honest, without ever being cruel... a gem of revelation."
-- Hilma Wolitzer, Chicago Tribune
"Accomplished...compassionate, meditative and intelligent. Empathy informs all of Anita Brookner's novels, [and] Brief Lives is yet another instance of her large and knowing heart."
-- The New York Times Book Review