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Providence

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  273 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Kitty Maule longs to be "totally unreasonable, totally unfair, very demanding, and very beautiful." She is instead clever, reticent, self-possessed, and striking. For years. Kitty has been tactfully courting her colleague Maurice Bishop, a detached, elegant English professor. Now, running out of patience, Kitty's amorous pursuit takes her from rancorous academic committee ...more
Paperback, 183 pages
Published January 13th 1994 by Vintage (first published October 13th 1983)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jean
Sep 24, 2012 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
There was a period a few years back where I read a stack of Anita Brookner novels, one after another. I didn't especially want to continue, but it seemed like too much trouble to stop. At some point I realized I was getting very depressed.

Anyway, Providence is very much in line with Brookner's other books. There's the frustratingly inert heroine, lacking some very basic ability to pursue her own happiness; patiently waiting out her dull, sparkless existence; single and contemptuous of other sin
...more
Ali
Jul 13, 2013 Ali rated it really liked it
Providence is described on Goodreads and elsewhere as romantic comedy –not sure that I see it in quite those terms, but it is a novel I enjoyed very much. This is an early Brookner novel – in fact it was only Brookner’s second novel. In her first novel –A start in Life, the main character believes her life has been ruined by literature. In this novel, Kitty Maule is similarly affected by her literature. Kitty wishes to be "totally unreasonable, totally unfair, very demanding, and very ...more
JacquiWine
Oct 19, 2016 JacquiWine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars

Anita Brooker is another of those writers I’ve been meaning to read or revisit for a while. I liked her Booker Prize-winning novel, Hotel du Lac, when I read it some thirty years ago, but I didn’t love it. That said, my tastes in literature have changed quite substantially since the days of my early twenties when I was young and carefree and too foolish to know any better. Now that I’ve come to appreciate the work of writers such as Elizabeth Taylor, Penelope Fitzgerald and Barbara Pym,
...more
James
Sep 19, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
If you have not read Anita Brookner this is a wonderful novel with which to start. I daresay you will not look back as you traverse some of her many (too numerous to count) novels of romance and the social difficulties of young women - and sometimes not so young - in love. In this one the protagonist, Kitty Maule, longs to be "totally unreasonable, totally unfair, very demanding, and very beautiful." She is instead clever, reticent, self-possessed, and striking. For years Kitty has been ...more
Roberta
Jun 19, 2015 Roberta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, uk
Kitty Maule è una giovane donna inglese, di origini francesi, che, innamorata del collega Maurice, decide di abbandonare la malleabilità che è il segno distintivo del suo carattere per precipitare, finalmente, le cose.
Kitty (o Thérèse, come in realtà si chiama e viene chiamata dai nonni francesi) è una ragazza docile, estremamente elegante (grazie alle creazioni della nonna sarta) e sognatrice, che a lungo tempo ha corteggiato il collega, un conferenziere adorato dalle donne e osteggiato da qual
...more
Robert
May 13, 2009 Robert rated it liked it
A good read. Charming, understated, and strangely dated - set in 1980s England. A classic literary novel, about a literature lecturer in a provincial university, written by an arts professor. I'm not sure what it all means, and whether there is any message, but its subtle and engaging and draws you in. I read it on a short flight.

Probably there is not much to be said about the story, and perhaps the strength of it luies in the characterisation of the female subject of the novel, her colleagues
...more
Laurel Deloria
This story is a repetition of Hotel Du Lac. Well written but I've already read it.

Kitty Maule longs to be "totally unreasonable, totally unfair, very demanding, and very beautiful." She is instead clever, reticent, self-possessed, and striking. For years. Kitty has been tactfully courting her colleague Maurice Bishop, a detached, elegant English professor. Now, running out of patience, Kitty's amorous pursuit takes her from rancorous academic committee rooms and lecture halls to French cathedra
...more
Nicole
At least one other person on this site said something along the lines of this: all the Brookner books are essentially the same book, yet somehow you don't care because the writing is so good.

I'm on my third, and that sounds about right to me.

I also find it interesting that the central character is always a woman who, if I were to know her in person, I would want to shake and shake screaming SNAP OUT OF IT!!!, but that in the context of the novel, she never bothers me at all. In fact, I find ti
...more
Carol
Aug 19, 2012 Carol rated it it was ok
Shelves: literary-fiction
This short novel is about Kitty Maule, an Englishwoman of French descent who attempts to move things along in her life, which has become somewhat stagnant. While working on her debut lecture at a small university, she also pursues resolution for her long, circumspect courtship of her fellow academic, Maurice. Kitty's attempts to effect change and movement in her life meet with only partial success. I think this novel is alrgely about the disappointments that can result from a too-careful ...more
Mike
Mar 23, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
Nicely quiet and intimate style. Sad resignation.

11..need petersham for skirts (a thick corded ribbon used to stiffen belts, button bands, etc)
51..she could never eat or wear enough to conciliate them with her way of life.
65.."We are all looking forward to your lecture, Miss Maule."
...This was patently false, so she went on smiling at him.
83..Kitty, for her part, was not unused to the petty squalors of old age.
90..Oh, come on, Mother, do make an effort.
....Both were aware of this, and made occa
...more
Angie
Feb 22, 2016 Angie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another character study by Brookner. One of the blurbs on the back says "Ms Brookner has again shown life being damaged by literature.' (The Observer). I read Brookner's "A Start in Life" last year and the main character describes herself as having her life destroyed by literature. Both Kitty in "Providence" and Ruth in "A Start in Life" are so absorbed in books, both by reading and teaching, that they don't see what is going on around them. They misread messages from friends, family, ...more
Jessica
Nov 12, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
grew to hate the main character. unlike in books such as 1984 or some Austens, this was clearly not a deliberate move to make a point, you were supposed to like her, the author simply failed to evoke any sympathetic feelings in me. i became annoyed at being forced to be close to her at all times. the story was both bleak and somewhat non-existent.
NB: terrible editing in the edition i read!
Mary Ronan Drew
Aug 06, 2013 Mary Ronan Drew rated it really liked it
Brookner's second novel, just as good as (perhaps a tad better than) her first. This story also features a college lecturer who is teaching a book to a seminar. This time it's Benjamin Constant's Adolphe. And this time there's a bit more plot. Not that any of Brookner's novels are exactly plot-driven, but something does happen and something does not happen in this story.
Meg
Dec 02, 2014 Meg rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say about this book? nothing. that is the impression it left with me. Nothing at all happened. It's not that I need a good plot, plenty of books without any storyline are brilliant. they just need some interesting characters or beautiful prose to make them worthwhile. This book had none of the above.
Sarah
Jun 07, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
It's true, Anita Brookner wrote the same book over and over again. But I happen to like this book she kept writing.

As always, her writing is relatable, lovely, literary but accessible. Well crafted, overall.

Hotel du Lac is still her best in my opinion.
Kat Sommers
Not one of her best (only her second novel, after A Start in Life), but devastating all the same. Reminded me of James: the truth about the heroine's relationship with a professor at the university where she teaches is revealed on the final page, but has been there all along.
Tess
Jul 07, 2011 Tess rated it it was amazing
I was blown away by this novel. I got it simply as a summer read, but once I reached the end I realized I had actually stumbled upon a new potential favorite author! I cannot wait to read another book by Brookner.
Kay
Feb 25, 2008 Kay rated it it was ok
Kitty has quite a sheltered life as she chases her romantic notions of a lover across France visiting cathedrals. I liked it more the first time I read it, on rereading I found it a little dull.
Virginia
Jan 23, 2016 Virginia rated it liked it
Interesting little story with great characters and beautiful description of apartments. What could be more fun.
Jan Humphrey
Jan Humphrey rated it liked it
Feb 07, 2014
Climbeverymountain
Climbeverymountain rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2012
Lily
Lily rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2015
Cat
Cat rated it really liked it
Jul 11, 2009
Eileen
Eileen rated it liked it
Jul 29, 2015
Lindsey
Lindsey rated it liked it
Sep 05, 2016
DoctorM
DoctorM rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2014
Annasan
Annasan rated it really liked it
Dec 05, 2008
Graham Vernall
Graham Vernall rated it really liked it
Jul 14, 2016
Donna Callan
Donna Callan rated it liked it
Feb 22, 2012
Steve Pimentil
Steve Pimentil rated it it was ok
Apr 06, 2014
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Anita Brookner published her first novel, A Start In Life in 1981. Her most notable novel, her fourth, Hotel du Lac won the Man Booker Prize in 1984. Her novel, The Next Big Thing was longlisted (alongside John Banville's, Shroud) in 2002 for the Man Booker Prize. She has published over 25 works of fiction, notably: Strangers (2009) shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Fraud (1992) ...more
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