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Leaving Home

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  477 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
At twenty-six, Emma Roberts comes to the painful realization that if she is ever to become truly independent, she must leave her comfortable London flat and venture into the wider world. This entails not only breaking free from a claustrophobic relationship with her mother, but also shedding her inherited tendency toward melancholy. Once settled in a small Paris hotel, ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published February 13th 2007 by Vintage (first published 2005)
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Nov 19, 2016 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, uk, 21-ce
Just some notes for now.

Set late in the 20th century in London with some sequences in Paris. Emma Roberts' father died when she was three. Her mother is a recluse who stays at home with her books. Emma cannot use this woman as a model in future life, she knows that, yet she has no other option.

Her self knowledge, her look back on her stilted parenting, her account of mistakes made in early life because of this faulty upbringing, is heartbreaking to read about. It makes for a very moving opening
Jul 28, 2013 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My third read for this month’s Brookner in July – and possibly my favourite of the three. I was captivated by Brookner’s beautiful prose from the first sentence.

Emma Roberts is twenty six and living a fairly claustrophobic existence with her widowed mother in a London flat. Emma realises that it is time she break free from this world which includes frequent visits from her mother’s disapproving and domineering brother. Emma is a reserved young woman, who longs to be like other young women, atten
Cynthia Dunn
Jan 13, 2016 Cynthia Dunn rated it really liked it
My first Brookner in years and just as good as I remembered.
Dec 20, 2007 Marian rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Henry James fans
I love Anita Brookner, although her books are so old fashioned. So old fashioned, in fact, that I can barely figure out which decade they are supposed to be set in. Leaving Home is almost plot free, but the language is lovely, and some of the lines you want to read again and again.
Elizabeth Lister
Sep 30, 2011 Elizabeth Lister rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ron Charles
Dec 14, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some books are so wonderful that they give us the added pleasure of pressing them into friends' hands and insisting they read them, too. Sadly, the devoted fans of Anita Brookner's flawless novels don't know that pleasure. What, after all, would we say? "This story about inconsolable loneliness made me think of you -- enjoy!" She's published a novel almost every year since 1981, but the range of her audience seems as restricted as her themes. With Henry David Thoreau, she might wryly observe, "I ...more
Jeni Hankins
Feb 11, 2016 Jeni Hankins rated it really liked it
“The only realistic ambition is to live in the present. And sometimes, quite often in fact, this is more than enough to keep one busy. Time, which was often squandered, must now be given over to the actual, the possible, and perhaps to that evanescent hope of a good outcome which never deserts one, and which should never be abandoned.” – Anita Brookner, “Leaving Home”

After mentioning Anita Brookner in my last two reviews, I thought there was something in me that wanted to read a Brookner Book, s
Jane Gregg
Oct 09, 2016 Jane Gregg rated it really liked it
A fragile world constructed and then sort of blown into rather sad pieces. Actually, that sounds a bit dramatic for what is a quiet, though rather desperate and despairing novel. Another wonderful 20th C British woman writer who documented quiet lives with elegance and insight.
Nov 04, 2009 Mel rated it really liked it
Leaving Home by Anita Brookner (2005) is the second of her novels that I have read. In August I read and posted on A Start in Life. I loved the opening sentence of that book.

Dr Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.

Some people, even those who enjoy reading Brookner's novels, say they are all sort of the same. The all deal with older (or prematurely aged younger people, mostly women) lonely bookish people who live cautious closed in lives. The women in both of these wo
Sep 15, 2016 Joanne rated it liked it
It takes a lot of talent to make such a dull life interesting to read about.
Dec 12, 2013 Felicity rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Anita Brookner is an elegant, sophisticated, analytical writer, but it's all very depressing and not enough happens to make it interesting. She writes about thoughts rather than actions, and melancholy is her forte. Her lonely, introverted, pessimistic characters do not believe happiness is possible, yet at the same time, they do not seem to pity themselves - I suppose they think it's normal to think and feel the way they do. It reminds me of a line from Goyte "You can be addicted to a certain ...more
Jan 04, 2014 Sterlingcindysu rated it really liked it
Brookner writes a certain type of book and this is no exception. In fact, I have to make sure I only read 1-2 of hers a year because in remembering I tend to merge all the characters together.

This would have a great book club read because of all the discussions you could have--but it would make a lousy book club read because it goes so slowly (nothing really happens at all) and most of the characters are unlikeable. Well, not unlikable but you want to give most of them a wakeup call. Ring, ring
Sep 09, 2016 Den rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016
Finding this hard going!! ACtually not sure how I ever finished it.
YEs, the descriptions were nice but that was about it. THe main character was totally uninspiring - in fact downright boring - did she actually do anything except travel between Paris and London, and get dumped on and used by friends and family ... and the storyline - was there one? - was boring. I very rarely use the word 'boring' but this book sums that word up perfectly.
I really cannot see what people who rated it 4 or 5 stars
Bookmarks Magazine

It's more of the same for Anita Brookner's 23rd novel. The Baltimore Sun calls the Booker Prize winner (for Hotel du Lac [1984]) "an acquired taste, like espresso or olives," an opinion that, for better or worse, carries through the bulk of reviews for Leaving Home. While some critics hail her new novel as another dose of the author's trademark psychological acuity, others are tired of a style that reads more like a clich_

Laila (BigReadingLife)
I get so annoyed sometimes with Brookner's characters, who are mostly ridiculously passive and ineffectual in their own lives - but then I press on and am rewarded with some of the most beguiling prose written, and I can't help but keep reading. About twice a year I read her, and she's so *not* plot driven it acts as a literary palate-cleanser.
Aug 08, 2007 Suz rated it it was ok
Beautifully written, but utterly boring
Maureen Flynn-Burhoe
Jul 08, 2016 Maureen Flynn-Burhoe rated it really liked it
While reading Brookner's Bildungsroman I began to appreciate more the work of photographer Jennifer Dickson. "Light is the essential animating factor." Brookner "makes the landscape and the weather mirror the central character's feelings." Brookner has been compared to Jane Austin - consciously omitting certain details while telling their stories.

Anita Brookner as writer of consciousness:
"My departures are all the same now accomplished without difficulty but with a certain philosophical fatigu
Sigrun Hodne
Jul 26, 2012 Sigrun Hodne rated it really liked it
I started reading Anita Brookner’s Leaving Home knowing next to nothing about the author and her book. As some of you might guess, I find the title – Leaving Home – very alluring.

I heard of Brookner at the same time as I learned about Anne Tyler, and somehow I came to imagine them as similar writers. My premature conclusion tells me they are not! Premature, obviously, I’ve only read one book by each of them, most of their writings are yet to be discovered.

My first meeting with Tyler was not all
John David
Nov 30, 2011 John David rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
After reading a couple of online interviews and other pieces about Anita Brookner, a distinctive personality profile starts to emerge. Professionally trained as an art historian, she taught at the Courtauld Institute and developed a reputation as a rather distinguished academic. She didn’t publish her first novel, “A Start in Life,” until she was in her fifties. She almost never gives interviews, is known among friends as being extraordinarily intelligent, and according to herself, wants nothing ...more
Roger Brunyate
Aug 07, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it liked it
Shelves: bildungsroman
A Tale of Two Cities

The title and back cover of Anita Brookner's novel suggest that this is about the perennial adolescent drama of breaking away from parental influences and leaving the nest. But this is only a small part of it. Emma Roberts, though younger than most of Brookner's protagonists, is already in her mid-twenties, and her quest is more a search for home than the leaving of it. She begins by moving to Paris as a graduate student of landscape architecture, staying first of all in a ho
Roderick Hart
Nov 21, 2008 Roderick Hart rated it it was ok
The heroine, Emma, is obliged by others to leave home and they make the arrangements for her, in this case pointless academic study in Paris. Emma wants a man in her life. And Emma is a writer. We know this because she says so and the book is a first person narrative. So she has all of this in common with Edith, the 'heroine' of Hotel du Lac.

A first person narrator can be like a bad insurance policy. If something isn’t well expressed the author can always claim that’s how her narrator would hav
" Te la immagini la casa ideale, un posto dove desideri stare? A volte peso che potrei essere più felice da qualche altra parte. Non felice, attenzione: più felice. Se mi capita di vedere una casa piuttosto normale penso, sì, una cosa del genere. Forse soltanto per un dettaglio, una tenda gonfiata dal ventoa una finestra del piano di sopra...."

" Sapevo, quasi con fede superstiziosa, che non bisogna mai tornare indietro, mai ripercorrere i propri passi nella speranza che tutto torni come prima, p
Renee shi yan Liu
Jan 05, 2014 Renee shi yan Liu rated it it was amazing
Anita intactly renders the loniless inside Emma Roberts' heart and inside the place where she dwells onto every page of this short little book. "leaving home" is a manifesto for freedom of herself. Emma leaves home for her actual duty and also for severing some connections that seem to be her bridling burden. This connection is between her mom and herself, is beween her upbringing and her gradual condensed self liberation. Simply leaving home sounds really simple, but not for someone who leaves ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Simonetta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Senza dubbio un libro molto malinconico. Qualcuno dice triste, ma in fondo cosa c’è di triste nella ricerca di se stessi? Emma, la protagonista, per tutto il romanzo cerca di smarcarsi dal destino solitario e inattivo toccato a sua madre, allontanandosi da lei e cercando altrove la propria strada. Immagina di avere bisogno di aiuto, proprio perché vede nella solitudine una condizione negativa; per questo vorrebbe sposarsi, per mettersi al riparo per sempre da un’esistenza priva di affetti e di ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Ruby rated it really liked it
I loved this book as I love all of Anita Brookner's books.
Her protagonist in each of her books are very similar to each other; most being young woman, lonely, melancholy, pensive, muddling through life with few options available to them. Whilst this may all sound very bleak, the books are not in any way bleak. Each sentence is beautifully crafted with ideas that deserve a good few minutes to think about and mull over.
Leaving Home was another one of Anita Brookner's great books. It's is set bet
Sep 13, 2015 Sheridan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book by my daughter and it's the first Anita Brookner I've read. Only a few pages in and I began to wonder just who IS this author, how have I not heard of her? Brookner's writing is so mesmerising and detailed and beautiful !!
Some reviewers found this story boring or depressing, but I was riveted. The only part of the book I found a little slow was near the end where Emma kept going back and forward between London and Paris. Please, just make up your mind.
I would have liked a
Jul 16, 2016 Ereck rated it it was amazing
This novel administers a strange and subtle form of CPR, doing so for hours on end. Brookner's awareness and sensitivity in carrying out such work is stunning: human, intimate, uncomfortable-- all that one might anticipate about breathing with and through another person, under her dedicated control, for an extended period of time. The novel addresses, among other things, the underacknowledged complexities and culpabilities of friendship, family, vocation, and place. What occurs is not driven by ...more
Cliffside Park Public Library (NJ)
I love Anita Brookner. There is something about her writing that just really appeals to me. Her characters are always real to me, and many of them I'd like to meet, even when they annoy me, even when they sort of blur together.

Leaving Home is no exception. I loved how the character thinks life is going to go, and tries to figure out how to make it that way, yet never does get it there and realizes life creates itself, and what she ends up with isn't so bad even if it wasn't what she wanted.

Oct 06, 2011 Leigh rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2006, did-not-like
I'm not sure that I like Anita Brookner's writing, although I appreciate what she does. Her characters engage in few scenes with others (at least in the two novels I've read); they are internal creatures, indecisive creatures. I think that many people are like that, though not, possibly, as apt to have the complete and sophisticated thoughts that Brookner's characters have. It just, finally, for me, is not satisfying to read about.
In a nutshell - the slightly dramatic conclusion wasn't worth the beginning and middle sections. I'd give it 2.5 stars really, if we had the option.

Brookner can write, but Emma came across to me as so cold and self-absorbed that I really didn't care much about the fate of her narrow, over-analyzed life. I can't blame those who give up on this one. She and her "friend" Francoise are two peas in the same narcissistic pod.
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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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