Since childhood Ruth Weiss has been escaping from life into books, and from the hothouse attentions of her tyrannical and eccentric parents into the gentler warmth of lovers and friends. Now Dr. Weiss, at forty, a quiet scholar devoted to the study of Balzac, is convinced that her life has been ruined by literature, and that once again she must make a new start in life.
"Precise and haunting...Brookner is a master at creating miniaturist portraits of attenuated lives"
-- The New York Times
"An almost flawless novel." -- People
"Sly, detached humor has caused Brookner to be compared to Barbara Pym, but her vision is darker and more complex .... Brookner's ambitions exceed those of Pym's genteel novels of manners and place her outside the genre, to which her writing, with its delicate shadings of character, otherwise seem suited."-- The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Anita Brookner is a stunning writer." -- Edna O'Brien
"Deft, lively and quite touching." -- Mary Gordon