The Next Big Thing Read Ð E-book, or Kindle E-pub



10 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing

  1. says:

    Anita Brookner was undoubtedly a talented writer but like her Booker winner Hotel du Lac this is not an easy book to love As part of The Mookse and the Gripes group's project to re read the 2002 Booker shortlist I have decided to read a few of the longlisted books too to help put the shortlist into context This one could be read as a very bleak character study but it has moments of humour and eventually a partial redemption so it seems fairer to view it as a tragicomedy rather like Bernice Rubens' A Five Year Sentence if a little less savageThe central character Julius Herz is a lonely 73 year old living alone in a London flat He has spent most of his life serving his parents and his brother whose early potential as a musician gave way to illness He is still in the shadow of his parents with whom he fled Berlin to escape the Nazis and their mysterious benefactor who housed and employed them in London before retiring to Spain selling the shop where Herz is employed but giving him enough money to be settled reasonably comfortably He has a practical ex wife who he sees for occasional dinners and he still harks back to a youthful infatuation with his cousin Fanny who he has not seen for 30 years since a failed marriage proposal His only other regular meetings are with his solicitor and a rather ineffectual cleanerThe plot centres on Herz's rather desperate attempts to find meaning in his increasingly limited life and much of the humour is derived from his misreadings of various social situations Things get complicated halfway through the book when Fanny writes to him seeking his helpBrookner writes lavish and often convoluted sentences using obscure vocabulary with great precision for example the word inanition appears three times but I sensed the sentences became shorter and focused as the book moved inexorably towards its conclusion


  2. says:

    Who really wants to read Anita Brookner's repellently accurate novels about the intricacies of loneliness? I'm sure this isn't a uestion that troubles the Booker Prize winning author who's managed to publish a book a year since 1981 But a critic confronting her 21st novel has to wonder if readers want to subject themselves to Brookner's searing insight Indeed Making Things Better is a sort of literary toothache an all absorbing pain that brings thoughts into unwelcome clarityAt 73 Julius Hertz is a survivor He escaped the Nazis as a child but as an adult he endured rather than fled his claustrophobic family a decision or lack of decision that essentially cost him his life Now he's finally outlived all the needy people who consumed him His parents whom he cared for even as they destroyed his marriage are dead; his mentally ill brother who stole all the family's attention and enthusiasm has passed away; and his only employer has left him a comfortable retirementThese were to be his golden years but at heart he was still a young man a boy even to whom adulthood had come as a surprise and had never ceased to be a burdenFreed from the problems of supporting himself or anyone else he rises to meet each boring day of his present existence in which nothing happened nor could be expected to happen And so he spends his life getting the paper eating a bowl of soup and hoping to catch life on the wing and to make himself into a semblance of gentlemanly old age which others might find acceptableIt's not an accident that Random House has released this novel about a nearly dead man in the nearly dead weeks of January Earlier this year it appeared in England under a slightly bitter title The Next Big Thing where it received tepidly appreciative reviews from apologetic critics Even assuming that older people read than younger people how many of the 65 million Americans over 65 will want to subject themselves to the alarmingly still story of Julius's final years? And how many of the rest of us have the courage to confront Brookner's warnings about the challenges of retirement? Especially in the wake of our relief that the perky models on Friends have agreed to give us one yearBut the reasons to pay attention to Anita Brookner grow no less compelling First she's one of the great English stylists an artist of such extraordinary precision that her novels serve as an antidote to the overwritten tomes from so many contemporary writersSecond in a literary marketplace excited by the bizarre she remains committed to the mundane No she can't tell us about a hermaphrodite whose grandparents were siblings for advice in that situation you must go to Jeffrey Eugenides's widely praised Middlesex but if you're considering the somewhat common predicament of getting older Brookner is as wise a guide as you'll findFor Julius the challenge is not so much the burden of age but the burden of believing that he must always make things better for others A lifetime of self sacrifice and excessive obedience has yielded him none of the satisfaction promised by religious creedsHe feels as if he were one of those victims in the French Revolution who were tied to a dead body and thrown into the river to drown Trapped between thoughts of grotesue self pity or embarrassing himself in an adolescent search for new friends Julius suffers a delicate sadness which his distracted young doctor hopes to correct with blood pressure medicationA chorus of acuaintances offers advice His cordial ex wife admonishes him to cheer up his lawyer suggests travel his distractingly beautiful neighbor tells him to stop staring But none of these courses can solve the problem of learning how to live with an abundance of unaccustomed freedom Keeping one's dignity he admits is a lonely business And how one longs to let it goOf course there's something ruefully comic about a man who thinks of himself in a posthumous condition but what laughter Brookner inspires sounds like whistling past the graveyard It's clear she has no intention of soothing our anxieties with some deathbed conversion to happinessIndeed when an old cousin writes to Julius for assistance presuming on his devotion which she cruelly brushed aside many decades before he finally earns a degree of self knowledge that's harrowingly profound His will had been at the service of others to use as they thought fit and in allowing this in the fallacious enterprise of making things better he had surrendered that part of himself that others could not and would not supply and in so doing had forgone his right to respectThis is bitter medicine for sure but Brookner draws a portrait of despair so perfectly that it might serve a homeopathic purpose for anyone in or slipping toward a pale simulacrum of life Only a writer of her astonishing wit and insight could get us to swallow it


  3. says:

    On reading The next Big ThingWhile conditional clauses present an opportunity to display exuisite mastery of language and can lead to an appreciation of an author's innermost thought processes interspersed as they are in this and no doubt her other novels with parenthetic clauses further separating subject as it were from object the use or in this case overuse of such techniues coupled with the author's emotional and encyclopaedic attachment to words like plangent and trenchant that should be used sparingly at best although to be fair I do not now at this distance from my initial reading recall if those words per se appeared in this particular novel can lead to a state not unlike one that this reader in fact experienced that is to say weeping with frustration at Brookner's apparent inability to write a sentence that did not in its own convoluted way form an entire paragraph of which it was the only member And while it is to be acknowledged that it is rather easy to parody her style by cutting and pasting phrases here and there within applications that permit misuse of such editing techniues one is nevertheless left wondering whether in Brookner's entire prolific and undoubtedly respected career did she ever write or even utter a simple declarative grammatical construct such as Put the kettle on dear?I did not finish this book although I did give it a good try and I am not sure if I want to read any of her work


  4. says:

    This is typical Brookner in another one of my reviews Leaving Home I wrote So check there's a uiet unassuming girl and her reserved widowed mother Check there's a small but steady cash flow so the above don't need to work Check the location is in both London and Paris Check girl acts like a doormat Yup it's Brookner So change it to an older man vs girl and the set up is the same An older lonely man who's facing retirement and has no hobbies family friends or even interests The usual ERE is here Exercise long walks Reading Eating with of course many cups of tea The title comes from the man always making things better for his parents brother etc and being the ultimate doormat For example he visits his brother in a home every weekend saving his parents from having to do it One thing I didn't understand was the arrangement between Hertz's family with their benefactor when they left Germany pre WWII The benefactor gave them a flat and the husband a job but was there no other money? That would explain his generosity later as well as why Hertz didn't consider collegebut why didn't he get a job elsewhere if he was only working for his lodging? What's the plot line? Well view spoilerAfter an amicable divorce Hertz proposes to a widowed cousin who's staying at a resort in Nyon Switzerland and is turned down After she marries again for money and is left penniless 10 15 years later she approaches Hertz again Against his better judgement he agrees to meet her for an extended visit at his expense He rents his flat to a guy the girl who lives below him is in love with and feels pushed out of his own apartment The last sentence has him boarding the plane but having spilled his heart pills and crushing them underfoot As the title suggests he doesn't ask anyone to help pick them up or help himit's up to him to make things better but no one smooths his path hide spoiler


  5. says:

    Herz is 73 and living a half life alone in London He thinks back to his stifled childhood with his formal parents and ill brother to when he was married for a brief time and to his German cousin Fanny whom he was once in love with and to whom he once proposed Now his days are only enlivened by tiny acts such as taking in some post for his neighbour Sophie which make him 'grateful that this event would give the day some shape' For a time Herz becomes obsessed with Sophie and makes an error of judgement when this passes he becomes fixated on Fanny after receiving a letter from her He overthinks and worries without anything to fill his day except occasional lunches with his ex wife or solicitor for which he is charged He finally makes up his mind to visit Fanny but then 'the next big thing' happensIt's a very introspect book but Brookner's prose is wonderful as always This is the third novel by her that I've read and I am sure to read some


  6. says:

    This is not a fly through it and enjoy it book This is a book of contemplative prose in which a reader wants to haul the characters around by their shirt collars all the while telling them in no uncertain terms that they are behaving in a way that they will regret deeply feel great guilt for having done whatever it is they are doing wish to pull back words gestures etc In other words the reader wants them to listen to all the good advice which the reader has and continues to hear from all sides throughout their lifetimes even though the readers are fine failed examples of humanity right along with these hapless characters This book is a reminder to all who persrevere to the end of the book? Well not exactly But yes that too Brookner is uite the writer I recommend exploring her work


  7. says:

    The next big thing is most probably the loneliest thing—death 73 year old Julius Herz is filling his empty life with empty days Divorced and easily frightened he would rather read his old fashioned Thomas Mann than interact socially yet craves contact To fill his days he studies the past hoping to find a clue to his lonely present he has uick and regrettably hopeful lunches with his ex wife and writes letters to an unfulfilled love ▪️That was why he was half contented with his present solitude recognising it as something merited something that was his due and over something that would not fail him ▪️Brookner in her final interview with The Telegraph said that her novels are to a certain extent about betrayal By this she meant not only the betrayal of trust and affections within a relationship but a larger unavoidable betrayal of life's promise She continues to say that the body gives you away It lets you down It betrays youAge is the final betrayal ▪️The Next Big Thing Brookner's 21st novel is loneliness under a microscope splitting and multiplying It is bleak graceful and strives to hold on to dignity until the next big thing comes around #bringbackbrookner


  8. says:

    Ms Brookner's books are endlessly fascinating and addicting I've read apprx 16 books by her in the last few months No one except perhaps for Charlotte Bronte's Villette which is wickedly depressing and so very dark does isolation loneliness alienation despair as well as Brookner However the catch with Brookner is her psychological insights her admiration for her characters and the glint of hope and promise beyond the loneliest most isolated ones Brookner's enormous vocabulary and insights do not make for a uick read she makes you work uite a bit and who doesn't enjoy reading a novel or 16 with a dictionary at the ready?


  9. says:

    In detailed inner dialogues Julius Herz examines memories of his 73 years and gains insights into how he ended up alone at the end of an unfulfilled life He has spent his life observing the rules and attempting always to do what was expected of him from the people in his life His loneliness is palpable as he now attempts to connect with people and somehow alleviate his anxieties about how to spend the rest of his life The prose is exuisite in this typical Brookner novel


  10. says:

    Do not be disuaded by the rather jaunty title of this novel When you are 73 alone suffering from Durkheimian anomie and plagued by Freudian dreams and ideas not to mention a dicky heart the next best thing limits one's possibilities whether the narrator is ready to recognize it or not Brooker a distinguished art historian former Cambridge professor Booker winning novelist noted for her refined style and her depiction of women facing issues of isolation emotional distress and disappointment offers a volume that is even autobiographical than her previous work despite the fact that the protagonist is a man Julian Herz Not only do HerzBrookner share personality traits including being aliens within English society but their ages are also virtually the same at the time of compositionFor reasons known only to the American publishers of this work it is titled here as MAKING THINGS BETTER ironic but less appropriate to the novel's intent Julius who devoted his life to assisting his parents and his brother while assuming a job as shopkeeper for Ostrovski his mysterious boss and patron is forced to relocate when his benefactor sells the business and flat that has been his world Relocated in another part of London with modest funds Julius attempts to reconsider his life and what his future might be He remembers his failed marriage to Josie for whom he still feels affection but who has become increasing distant despite their carefully arranged luncheon meetings He has no friends only acuaintances to whom he offers a friendly wave or a smile He does remember with bittersweet regret the arrogant Fanny a cousin he pursued in his faint hearted way before she found prosperous suitors to indulge her selfish whims He attempts to reconnect with her only to be again rebuffed until her financial circumstances cause her to reconsider Julius realizes who she is and writes on two occasion letters redefining their relationshiponly to destroy them and indicate that he will submit to her wishes when they meet again Like Stevens in Ishiguro's THE REMAINS OF THE DAY the reader is uite aware of Julius's position as Brookner vividly portrays the odd mixture of his self knowledge and self delusion Is the prearranged reauaintance with Fanny to be the next big thing in Julius's life or has time run out? This is a thoughtful and reflective study of what familial obedience willingness to assume responsibility and respectablity without being respected can mean in forfeiting a life that might have had grander possibilities Unlike some of Brookner's other novels resignation is not Julius's pathetic fate Has he however waited too long to make his life meaningful? This is the ethical uestion posed and one that the author leaves to the reader to determine in this very subtle and perceptive book


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Next Big Thing

Summary The Next Big Thing

Y bewildering world He cannot see his place in it or even work out what to do with his final years uestions and misunderstandings haunt Herz like old ghosts Should he travel sell his flat or propose marriage to an. This is typical Brookner in another one of my reviews Leaving Home I wrote So check there's a uiet unassuming girl and her reserved widowed mother Check there's a small but steady cash flow so the above don't need to work Check the location is in both London and Paris Check girl acts like a doormat Yup it's Brookner So change it to an older man vs girl and the set up is the same An older lonely man who's facing retirement and has no hobbies family friends or even interests The usual ERE is here Exercise long walks Reading Eating with of course many cups of tea The title comes from the man always making things better for his parents brother etc and being the ultimate doormat For example he visits his brother in a home every weekend saving his parents from having to do it One thing I didn't understand was the arrangement between Hertz's family with their benefactor when they left Germany pre WWII The benefactor gave them a flat and the husband a job but was there no other money That would explain his generosity later as well as why Hertz didn't consider collegebut why didn't he get a job elsewhere if he was only working for his lodging What's the plot line Well view spoilerAfter an amicable divorce Hertz proposes to a widowed cousin who's staying at a resort in Nyon Switzerland and is turned down After she marries again for money and is left penniless 10 15 years later she approaches Hertz again Against his better judgement he agrees to meet her for an extended visit at his expense He rents his flat to a guy the girl who lives below him is in love with and feels pushed out of his own apartment The last sentence has him boarding the plane but having spilled his heart pills and crushing them underfoot As the title suggests he doesn't ask anyone to help pick them up or help himit's up to him to make things better but no one smooths his path hide spoiler La question de Palestine, tome 1 : 1799-1921 place in it or even work out what to do with his final years uestions and misunderstandings haunt Herz like old ghosts Should he travel sell his flat or Les Femmes du prophète propose marriage to an. This is typical Brookner in another one of my reviews Leaving Home I wrote So check there's a uiet unassuming girl and her reserved widowed mother Check there's a small but steady cash flow so the above don't need to work Check the location is in both London and Paris Check girl acts like a doormat Yup it's Brookner So change it to an older man vs girl and the set up is the same An older lonely man who's facing retirement and has no hobbies family friends or even interests The usual ERE is here Exercise long walks Reading Eating with of course many cups of tea The title comes from the man always making things better for his PENSEE ARABE parents brother etc and being the ultimate doormat For example he visits his brother in a home every weekend saving his Le mois le plus long. Ramadan à Istanbul parents from having to do it One thing I didn't understand was the arrangement between Hertz's family with their benefactor when they left Germany Figures du Palestinien: Identité des origines, identité de devenir pre WWII The benefactor gave them a flat and the husband a job but was there no other money That would explain his generosity later as well as why Hertz didn't consider collegebut why didn't he get a job elsewhere if he was only working for his lodging What's the Le Vent jaune : Récits plot line Well view spoilerAfter an amicable divorce Hertz L'inconscient de l'islam proposes to a widowed cousin who's staying at a resort in Nyon Switzerland and is turned down After she marries again for money and is left L'Expansion musulmane, VIIe-XIe siècles, 5e édition penniless 10 15 years later she approaches Hertz again Against his better judgement he agrees to meet her for an extended visit at his expense He rents his flat to a guy the girl who lives below him is in love with and feels L'Inconscient de l'islam pushed out of his own apartment The last sentence has him boarding the Les Palestiniens dans le siècle plane but having spilled his heart Le Gouvernement divin. Islam et conception politique du monde pills and crushing them underfoot As the title suggests he doesn't ask anyone to help Les Barbaresques (TEMPUS t. 220) pick them up or help himit's up to him to make things better but no one smooths his Sur la frontière path hide spoiler

Read ¹ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ↠ Anita Brookner

Old friend he has not seen in thirty years Herz believes that he must do something only he doesn't know what this next big thing in life should be 'Beautifully written it draws you in and holds you fast' Daily Mail. In detailed inner dialogues Julius Herz examines memories of his 73 years and gains insights into how he ended up alone at the end of an unfulfilled life He has spent his life observing the rules and attempting always to do what was expected of him from the people in his life His loneliness is palpable as he now attempts to connect with people and somehow alleviate his anxieties about how to spend the rest of his life The prose is exuisite in this typical Brookner novel FIGARO (LE) [No 4167] du 29/01/1958 - anastasia, grande-duchesse ou aventuriere par aucleres - loi-cadre algerie adoptee en seconde lecture a l'assemblee par gabilly le droit de greve et la fonction publique hebergement par ravon la citrouille , satellite de l'armee us serait lancee cette semaine par sauvage operations de police chez les etudiants musulmans de paris important jaillissement de petrole dansle sahara oriental - une ombre par guehenno conference du pacte de bagdad jacques guerard people in his life His loneliness is Droit musulman : du statut personnel et des successions d'après les différents rites, (Éd.1895) palpable as he now attempts to connect with Droit musulman - Des successions: D'après les différents rites, et plus particulièrement d'après le rite hanafite people and somehow alleviate his anxieties about how to spend the rest of his life The Ramadan rariq - Les musulmans dans la laïcité responsabilités et droits des musulmans dans les sociétés occidentales deuxième édition prose is exuisite in this typical Brookner novel

Anita Brookner ↠ 9 characters

'This would soon be a new day all too closely resembling the others the normal days of his present existence in which nothing happened nor could be expected to happen' At seventy three Herz is facing an increasingl. Who really wants to read Anita Brookner's repellently accurate novels about the intricacies of loneliness I'm sure this isn't a uestion that troubles the Booker Prize winning author who's managed to publish a book a year since 1981 But a critic confronting her 21st novel has to wonder if readers want to subject themselves to Brookner's searing insight Indeed Making Things Better is a sort of literary toothache an all absorbing pain that brings thoughts into unwelcome clarityAt 73 Julius Hertz is a survivor He escaped the Nazis as a child but as an adult he endured rather than fled his claustrophobic family a decision or lack of decision that essentially cost him his life Now he's finally outlived all the needy people who consumed him His parents whom he cared for even as they destroyed his marriage are dead; his mentally ill brother who stole all the family's attention and enthusiasm has passed away; and his only employer has left him a comfortable retirementThese were to be his golden years but at heart he was still a young man a boy even to whom adulthood had come as a surprise and had never ceased to be a burdenFreed from the problems of supporting himself or anyone else he rises to meet each boring day of his present existence in which nothing happened nor could be expected to happen And so he spends his life getting the paper eating a bowl of soup and hoping to catch life on the wing and to make himself into a semblance of gentlemanly old age which others might find acceptableIt's not an accident that Random House has released this novel about a nearly dead man in the nearly dead weeks of January Earlier this year it appeared in England under a slightly bitter title The Next Big Thing where it received tepidly appreciative reviews from apologetic critics Even assuming that older people read than younger people how many of the 65 million Americans over 65 will want to subject themselves to the alarmingly still story of Julius's final years And how many of the rest of us have the courage to confront Brookner's warnings about the challenges of retirement Especially in the wake of our relief that the perky models on Friends have agreed to give us one yearBut the reasons to pay attention to Anita Brookner grow no less compelling First she's one of the great English stylists an artist of such extraordinary precision that her novels serve as an antidote to the overwritten tomes from so many contemporary writersSecond in a literary marketplace excited by the bizarre she remains committed to the mundane No she can't tell us about a hermaphrodite whose grandparents were siblings for advice in that situation you must go to Jeffrey Eugenides's widely praised Middlesex but if you're considering the somewhat common predicament of getting older Brookner is as wise a guide as you'll findFor Julius the challenge is not so much the burden of age but the burden of believing that he must always make things better for others A lifetime of self sacrifice and excessive obedience has yielded him none of the satisfaction promised by religious creedsHe feels as if he were one of those victims in the French Revolution who were tied to a dead body and thrown into the river to drown Trapped between thoughts of grotesue self pity or embarrassing himself in an adolescent search for new friends Julius suffers a delicate sadness which his distracted young doctor hopes to correct with blood pressure medicationA chorus of acuaintances offers advice His cordial ex wife admonishes him to cheer up his lawyer suggests travel his distractingly beautiful neighbor tells him to stop staring But none of these courses can solve the problem of learning how to live with an abundance of unaccustomed freedom Keeping one's dignity he admits is a lonely business And how one longs to let it goOf course there's something ruefully comic about a man who thinks of himself in a posthumous condition but what laughter Brookner inspires sounds like whistling past the graveyard It's clear she has no intention of soothing our anxieties with some deathbed conversion to happinessIndeed when an old cousin writes to Julius for assistance presuming on his devotion which she cruelly brushed aside many decades before he finally earns a degree of self knowledge that's harrowingly profound His will had been at the service of others to use as they thought fit and in allowing this in the fallacious enterprise of making things better he had surrendered that part of himself that others could not and would not supply and in so doing had forgone his right to respectThis is bitter medicine for sure but Brookner draws a portrait of despair so perfectly that it might serve a homeopathic purpose for anyone in or slipping toward a pale simulacrum of life Only a writer of her astonishing wit and insight could get us to swallow it