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Leaving Home

Narrated by: Joanna David
Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

When cautious Emma Roberts goes to France to carry out research into 17th-century garden design, she finds a reliable diversion from her studies in her unlikely new friend Francoise Desnoyers, in whose beautiful house she is welcomed as a guest. She is not too dazzled to ignore the tensions that exist between Francoise and her formidable mother, or between Mme. Desnoyers and her other guests.

London recedes into the background as life in France becomes more significant in every respect. It is not until the horrifying episode that puts an end to this fascination that Emma is reconciled to her duller but safer life at home and to the compromises that she comes to accept.

Anita Brookner was born in south London in 1928, the daughter of a Polish immigrant family. She trained as an art historian, and worked at the Courtauld Institute of Art until her retirement in 1988. She published her first novel, A Start in Life, in 1981 and her 24th, Strangers, in 2009. As well as fiction, Anita Brookner has published a number of volumes of art criticism.

©2005 Anita Brookner (P)2014 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"Enthralling...so beautifully observed...as captivating as any thriller.” ( Marie Claire)
“Spare and devastating, powerful. Brookner is an unflinching novelist who writes beautifully and fearlessly.” ( Independent) “Elegiac...its magnificent final sentence is among the most moving of Brooknerian conclusions.” ( New Statesman)
“Clever and elegant.” ( Sunday Times)
“Brookner is brilliant...readers will not be disappointed. Her women are very real, more recognizable and more human than any obviously loveable character could hope to be.” ( Sunday Herald)
“So well done - so carefully is the novel wrought - that reading it offers deep and enduring pleasure.” ( Scotsman)

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Lovely Writing

Delicate, evocative description of an 'ordinary' life, spiced up with a brief funny, gothic episode towards the end An uplifting book for me because its message that you don't have to be special or have a wild social life to live a good ( enough) life appeals in this time of FB and instagram (especially as I've just put yet another load a load in the washing machine).

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  • M. J. Walsh
  • 09-09-20

A design fpr living

This short novel about a young woman caught between the dull certainties of her life in London and the, perhaps illusory, prospects offered by living in Paris is not Brookner's best work. Emma, the narrator of her own story, is writing a book on classical garden design. As she does research in Paris she discovers people and places that seem exotic and so different from sharing a stuffy flat with her mother in London. In place of routine she glimpses the image of freedom. In telling Emma's story Brookner doesn't endow it with her usual texture and detail. Good enough in its way but a slight work. More sketch than painting.