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After twenty years of marriage Blanche Vernon is alone; abandoned by her husband Bertie for a childishly demanding computer expert named Mousie. While Blanche finds this turn of events baffling, she feels that Bertie must have left her because of her overly sensible demeanor. Yet many of their mutual friends disagree. In fact, Blanche has come to be regarded as undeniably eccentric—making elliptical remarks that no one knows how to read, and chatting at great length about characters in fiction. She resolutely fills her unwanted hours with activities, maintaining her excellent appearance, drinking increasingly more wine, and, in an attempt to turn her energy to good works, becoming severely enmeshed in the life of a disordered young family.
“A Misalliance, like all Ms. Brookner’s fiction, exercises an almost inexplicable grip on the reader—a tribute to her formidable gifts as a psychologist of the wounded woman’s heart.” —The New York Times
“It is the author’s insight into the private human heart as well as her marvelous eye for color and artistic detail that take a woman’s claustrophobic existence and make of it a novel of worldly proportions.” —Chicago Tribune
“A marvelously written novel. . . . As in Hotel du Lac, she is just brooding, beautifully, about why some women drive men wild while others do not.” —The Times (London)
“In the end, this is not just a beautifully drawn, disturbing evocation of one woman's loneliness. It's a sometimes witty, sometimes despairing meditation on duty and pleasure, art and artifice, innocence and experience—on the appetites that pull and push at the very core of what passes for civilized life.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Miss Brookner writes exquisitely: her molding of every sentence is a delight . . . [as are] her impeccable evocations of mood—wet, lonely London summers are her forte—her small flares of wisdom and understanding, and her many moments of utter cleverness.” —The Observer (London)
“An ingenious variation on a Brookner theme . . . ambitiously subtle . . . handled with much imaginative resource.” —The Guardian
“Wonderfully poised and pointed . . . a civilized look at contemporary disorder.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)
“As in Hotel du Lac, Brookner once again contemplates the rifts in women's lives and the complex process of recovery. This quiet vision of Blanche slowly reconciling herself to her loss can be savored for its stunning imagery and use of irony.” —Booklist