Phyllis Lassner, Northwestern University
Written three years apart, Brookner’s novels Family and Friends (1985) and The Latecomers (1988) represent significant interventions in the plot of belonging to Britain. Her characters are the fortunate few who found safety and prosperity along with displacement and loss in their escape from another empire: the Third Reich. Both novels represent their characters’ survival as an aesthetic that interlaces conflicting and empty memories of their European past with their ambiguous status as Britons. In these novels, Brookner’s aesthetic constructs the past as both a haunting presence and an irreparable lack.