In an ambitious departure from her usual form, Anita Brookner expands her canvas in Family and Friends to create a richly textured novel about the life of a wealthy Jewish family in London, focusing on the generation that came to maturity between the two World Wars.
Presiding over the Dorn household is the formidable Sofka, an elegant and circumspect widow who watches as her four children find their way into adulthood. Frederick, the sybaritic eldest son, escapes to the comforts of the Riviera while stern, dutiful Alfred runs the family business adn burns with unrealized longings; Betty—pleasure-loving, vain, and selfish—makes her ambitious way from Paris to Hollywood, leaving her dreamy, passive sister Mimi to languish at home. A brilliant social novel of lost innocence and the complex nature of family bonds, Family and Friends meticulously portrays the emotional cost of everyday life.
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.