AT THE HAIRDRESSER’S
By Anita Brookner
Penguin Shorts (2011) – ebook
I seem to have read an Anita Brookner novel once a year from around the early 1980s until 2006. And none since then, which is perhaps understandable as she approaches her ninety line. I have been seeking her books amid brix and malta, but I spotted today this so called new-fangled ebook that seems to be the only source of her novella in 2011, possibly her last fiction as she enters what I have called ‘dream sickness’, as I have felt myself entering even at my mere age of 67…
She has been a major influence on me AND PLEASE CONSIDER GLANCING AT THE COMMENT STREAM BELOW WHERE I INTEND TO REAL-TIME REVIEW this relatively short but no doubt precious work…
At The Hairdresser’s – Anita Brookner
AT THE HAIRDRESSER’S
“My disappointment persists to this day, the only difference being that I no longer search for the impossible.”
This is told in Brookneresque immaculateness of clause and sub-clause, as an ageing lady-of-means – as well as meanings – has a dream of the once trio of self and two lady friends, long since drifted away from each other, mixed with observations on men that have crossed her path, including one unsatisfactory marriage, and now she also methodically hones reflection upon her telling but essentially cursory contacts with the girls at the hairdresser’s, until, her hair having just been set, it is spotted that it is raining hard and the girls call her a car service and a tall man driving it…
This whole first half of the novella is, for me and perhaps me alone, steeped in excused regret and studied dying falls: dream sickness supreme, acknowledged dreams as well as dreams that disguise themselves as real life. Or real life that disguises itself as dreams?
“My most immediate disappointment was that my dream had been unreliable, and yet it had seemed so convincing at the time.”
… as has been my dream of this book itself.
Betrayed by her past, as she reflects age as a ‘shipwreck’ upon herself from the sudden arrival, after fifty years without seeing each other, of one of those lady friends from the ‘dream’. But betrayed by the present, too, a shock to me as reader, so I won’t spoil it here. Safe to say, though, that the latter betrayal was a catalyst for good?
“But there comes a time when books let you down.” But is that books or ebooks, Anita?
Related: Previous review completed yesterday of Tamar Yellin’s short stories: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/kafka-in-bronteland/