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Incidents in the Rue Laugier

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  445 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Maud Gonthier yearns for an escape from the cocoon of the bourgeois modesty. The splendid, caddish David Tyler appears to offer one. In this stylish, deeply knowing novel by the author of Hotel du Lac, Maud's seduction creates a chemistry of longing, sensuality, and betrayal--with a surprising climax. 240 pp.
Paperback, 233 pages
Published January 14th 1997 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hot stuff hot stuff
Can't get enough
Hot stuff hot stuff,
Can't get enough
--Rolling Stones
Barbara H
Sep 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Maria, Susan, Cynthia, Laurel
As I continue to read Anita Brookner's books, I find increased admiration and awe for her skill and precision in her writing. Her language use is elegant and the depth of her character development is succinct and dramatic.

"Incedents in the Rue Laugier" is an absorbing study of a group of people, especially Maud Gonthier and Edward Harrison. Initially as I viewed their activities, language and comportment, I had the impression that I was reading about the Victorian era. However, it became evident
Lauren Albert
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
None of the reviews here seem to mention the fact that it is an unreliable narrator telling the story of Maud and Edward ("Please accept me as an unreliable narrator," she even writes). Their daughter, "Maffy," comes across some notes jotted by her mother into a notebook and discovered after both her parents have died. She transforms these 9 words into a story. "It is a fabrication," Maffy says, "one of those by which each of us lives, and as such an enormity, nothing to do with the truth. But p ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2009
Brookner is all interior - characters's motivations, fears, reveries, inner dialogue. This one was exquisite.
Jun 24, 2012 rated it liked it
I agree with other reviewers that _Incidents in the Rue Laugier_ gets off to a very slow start, mainly because the frame narrative and first-person narrator are unrelated to the main plot line, at least until the very end of the book. Then there is still more exposition within the main story, which again seems unrelated until you are well into the book. It took me a couple of days just to get through the first 75 pp. of this book, which is about when it starts picking up. (By way of comparison, ...more
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good
This was my second Anita Brookner. I wondered for a while what era I was reading about, it seems almost Victorian. Mannerly. Feelings withheld. A jarring introduction of birth control to let me know it was 1971. A French countrified 1971 where a good marriage meant everything to an impoverished widow for a her daughter.

An odd contrivance of a daughter exploring the story of her parents through a small notebook with only a few words scattered on it.

Basically the story of a loveless marriage, I wa
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
About a third of the way in, Brookner’s style became tedious to me, a bit too internal and repetitious. The story line and behavior of characters felt like they belonged to an earlier time, not the 1970s to millennium. But novels set in England and France always appeal to me on some level. In this story, people marry for the wrong reasons and stick it out, each trapped in his or her own longings for more, or maybe the daughter is mistaken in her suppositions.
Nov 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers
Amazing! Worth re-reading and discussing.
Melinda Millard
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
Disliked the characters. Too much introspection by boring people.
This Brookner is a little different than others I've read. While many of the similarities are there (lonely widowed women, long walks, careers to do with books and more thoughts than actions), here the main character Edward is a man vs. a woman. Maud is from France and not London (although they live in London) so there's more talk of bread, cheese and coffee instead of tea and biscuits. There's a small twist at the end...hope my daughter will think as well for me as Maffy does Maud!
Cherise Wolas
I've read many of Anita Brookner's marvelous novels. This one read strangely to me. For a good part of the book, I thought I was in the late 1800s or early 1900s, based on the aspirations of Nadine for her daughter Maude, the clothing, the summer holiday in the country at the house of Nadine's sisters, the young men guests who seem to have all the time in the world. I was stunned to find that it was actually set in the 1970s. I also wondered about her use of unreliable narrator - the daughter of ...more
Jun 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: female jane austen fans
Author has been called a latter-day Jane Austen. In this book she explores the consequences of sensuality, passion, betrayal, and of a surprising love affair.
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Excellent yet complicated story dealing with the heart.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orgasmic
To me this felt like a classic, there was just something so perfect about it. And even though I wasn't totally convinced by the framing of the narrative, or the era it was set in, all that repressiveness felt earlier than 1971... none of that affected the greatness here.

Brookner is always heartbreaking, in a very real, everyday, quietly devastating way that almost feels just beneath the surface. This was full of truths about the compromises that make up most lives, wistful, contemplative and se
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brookner succeeds again in creating yearning yet reticent characters whose lives are ordinary yet who make a prison of memory and desire. A tale of disappointment, memory, and deep love that is at once sustaining and insufficient. Every sentence is perfect.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Brookner being rather layered with her narrative structure, despite similar themes to her other work employed. As always, a treat to come across another of her novels.
Roger Brunyate
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Portrait of a Marriage

Despite her Poe-like title, Brookner is more like a compact Henry James. She writes novels about romance, but she is far from being a romance novelist. The two main characters in this story, as she points out in the very first chapter, do not quite live "happily ever after" but instead find stability, accommodation, and a kind of contentment. It is, in fact, the portrait of a marriage that lasts, deliberately contrasted with the torrid sexuality and unfocused idealism of yo
Sep 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judith Rich
Feb 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
I normally quite like Anita Brookner novels (some more than others, they can get a bit same-y). This on the other hand I didn't like at all.

Firstly, there is something really wrong with the time frames / dates. The scenes of Maud's parents read like the 1910s, yet are meant to be the 1940s/50s (yet the war / Occupation isn't mentioned?!). The scenes from the 1970s read like the 1950s. It's further confused by Maffy's character describing the events supposedly from the 1970s as "50 years ago", al
Kirsty Darbyshire
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: paperback
This got off to a really slow start. First there is an unnecessary introductory chapter and then there is a long bit about the family history before the main character is born. When the book finally gets going about a quarter of the way in it quickly turns into a marvellous life story.

Mostly it's a story about Maud from Dijon who doesn't quite fit into the social world that her mother, who is something like a poor relation out of an historical novel, wants her to be part of. The thing that seeme
'All life is good, even if it is ficticious.'

Yet another wonderful book by Ms Brookner. After 'Strangers' and 'The Next Big Thing', it was a pleasure to read of main characters who are somewhat younger than Paul Sturgis et al. I like this author best when she writes from within her characters rather from outside.
'Incidents' is essentially a tale of choices made and the consequences that the characters choose to endure and in less than 250 pages, it ranges from London to Paris to Dijon to Eastb
Emi Bevacqua
Jul 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tom Hooker
Sep 10, 2009 rated it liked it
A young man and woman enter, eyes open, into a loveless marriage, which began with incidents in the Rue Laugier. At another level, we see a woman (the mother of the wife mentioned above) whose husband dies at an early age, and who raises her daughter (said wife above) in an emotionally starved household. The young woman marries a man whom she does not love and has a daughter. The young husband dies at an early age, and the (now older) woman raises a daughter in an emotionally starved household. ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Anita Brookner has become my favorite author. Think Jane Austin but shorter stories. This is my 4th book by Ms. Brookner, and I have loved all of them. I am not one to read a lot by the same author but I want to read all of hers! She has such a command of the English language- very powerful prose in such condensed books. I started making a vocabulary list of words I have to look up from her books this book was only a little over 200 pages, and I have about 15 words! The imagery and character dev ...more
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked the depiction of a pre-war moral heritage lived out in the 'libertine' 1970s. Their aspirational longings were thwarted but I wanted to shake Maud and say 'Get over it! You married a good man!' But no, she lauded reserve and containment and thereby allowed her entire joy in life (and most of her husband's) to be stolen by that cad. I enjoyed the comparison of Edward's warm, outgoing family with Maud's more detached upbringing. In the end, the more emotional side became wearisome and unhe ...more
Oct 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Interesting' rather than 'pleasurable' read and I'm pleased to finish his one. Suspect it's close to the truth of many lives. As John Lennon sang 'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'......
To paraphrase the last page - Life is brief, it's also memorable, the traces it leaves behind indelible. 'And if the trace is inscrutable, this too may be appropriate. The dead, perhaps even more than the living, have a right to their mysteries. And who knows? We, the survivors, may be ca
Oct 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This little book spanning time from the late 19th century well into the mid/late 20th century is a pleasant read reminiscient of the Henry James style of interior action with a self proclaimed "unreliable narrator". Set in Paris and surrounding lesser cities, it exudes a Francophile's paradise in atmosphere and French phrases. All who love French and France and the stories of psychological intrigue will enjoy it. Those who like page-turning action will nod off.
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
I have read about 6 books by this author and I always felt smarter after having finished one. I will admit that I read her books with a dictionary on hand. Do not be deterred... the characters are so well developed they feel like they are people you know and care about.
Suzanne Auckerman
Aug 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Haven't read anything by Anita Brookner for a while. This book was written in 1995 and is set in the early 1970s' in England and France. As most of this book it is about the complexity of relationship, our hopes and our dreams.
Meredith Lipscomb
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I loved her descriptions and the use of quirky details to really set the scene. Her writing is wonderful.
The ending left a little to be desired but then I don't know you'd end this book properly.
Really rich and wonderful read.
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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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