Monday, July 18, 2016

Brookner, Anita. Lewis Percy (New York: Pantheon, 1989) 261 p.
Lewis is a young man who hopes for more excitement but resigns himself to his fate of working in a college library in London. The only thing we know about his job is that he indexes journal articles by hand on 3 x 5 cards. His supervisor is the Head Librarian, Arnold Goldsborough. Goldsborough is a bit of a comic figure who is old and fat and hesitates to take responsibility for making changes in the routine (e.g. typing the index cards rather than writing them by hand. Near the end of the novel, Goldsborough gets all excited about computers and decides to automate the library. Lewis' coworker and friend is Penry Douglas. Another character at the library is Arthur Tooth "a long-retired librarian and actual retainer, [he] ranged with crab-like slowness round the stacks, shelving the books: there was no getting rid of him.... The work could have been done in an hour by a person of normal vigour ..." (p. 127). Lewis meets Tissy Harper at the local public library and eventually they get married. As in Brookner's earlier novel Look at Me, the library is the setting of the protagonist's mundane life. 

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