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 was born in London and, apart from several years in Paris, has lived there ever since. She trained as an art historian and taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art until 1988. Strangers is her twenty-fourth novel.
"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."