By Anita Brookner
Vintage, Paperback, 9780679773252, 240pp.
Publication Date: January 12, 1998
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Standing on a railway platform in a Swiss resort town, sensibly clad in his Burberry raincoat and walking shoes, a man thinks he may be looking at the woman for whom he ruined his life many years earlier. Alan Sherwood, a quiet English solicitor, remembers back to a time when he stepped briefly out of character to indulge in a liaison with Sarah Miller, an intriguing but heartless distant relative--only to find himself in a series of absurd situations that culminated in his marriage to Sarah's clinging, childlike friend Angela.
With her compassionate portrait of a man who has paid a terrible price for his folly, Anita Brookner gives us a novel that it at once harrowing and humane. In the traditions of Henry James and Thomas Mann, Altered States is a beautifully rendered tale of loneliness, guilt, and erotic obsession.
"Engrossing-- a brilliant X-ray of obsession." -New York Times Book Review
"Brilliant.... In a category of its own." -The Globe and Mail
"Altered States -- is among [Brookner's] best. Its spare, gripping narrative and sombre, yet illuminating look at the power of passion is extraordinary." -The London Free Press
"Brookner's vision of human behaviour is scrupulously honest, without ever being cruel-- a gem of revelation." -Chicago Tribune