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The Rules of Engagement

Written by: Anita Brookner
Narrated by: Joanna David
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins

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Publisher's Summary

"I have come to believe that there can be no adequate preparation for the sadness that comes at the end, the sheer regret that one's life is finished, that one's failures remain indelible and one's successes illusory."

Elizabeth and Betsy are old school friends. Born in 1948 and unready for the sixties, they had high hopes of the lives they would lead, even though their circumstances were so different. When they meet again in their thirties, Elizabeth, married to the safe, older Digby, is relieving the boredom of a cosy but childless marriage with an affair. Betsy seems to have found real romance in Paris. Are their lives taking off, or are they just making more of the wrong choices without even realising it?

©2004 Anita Brookner (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
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  • M. J. Walsh
  • 17-05-20

Brookner's London life

Although she was not an early starter, as a novelist Anita Brookner was prolific and highly skilled. She also created and explored a territory in a manner uniquely her own. Her books are London books, through and through. The changing of the seasons, long walks through streets and parks (all her protagonists seek the solace and escape provided by thinking and walking), small flats and sumptuous houses, the V&A, the river and all else that a solitary mind might consider. This time, in this familiar setting, a female narrator tells her own story and that of a childhood girl friend when, as adults, their fates intersect again due to a man. Read with insight and furnished with subtle character creation, this superb reading by Joanna David does Brookner full justice. Highly recommended.

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Joan
  • 06-08-07

Sticking to the rules...........

Anita Brookner's characters have the most unbelievably dull and tedious lives, and the heroine of this one is even more boring than usual. It is strange to think that I (and many others no doubt) would willingly waste 8 hours listening to this, but I find it very soothing and relaxing to do so. I seem to slow right down to the turgid pace of this non-life. Very stress-busting.

There is also a satisfying feeling that, however ordinary my own life, it is a great deal more interesting than this!

I did enjoy Joanna David's crisp delivery which was perfectly in keeping with the character.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pen
  • 01-04-10

The Rules of Engagement

Listening to an account of the thoughts, behaviour and conversations of two middle class English women, their lives and conventional relationships with men is like entering an alien culture. It is fascinating as a realisation of values and beliefs that are almost historical and completely different to my own. I am sure that If i met these women I would dislike them but I can recognise their fears and feelings. The novel is compelling. It touches some profound thoughts about love, life and death and its tone of gentle melancholy and subtle humour is so well conceived.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lizzie
  • 05-06-07

slow moving river

This is a long and tedious account of non-events; the plot, if indeed it can be called this, has a distinct lack of pace throughout. This is an account of the narrow-minded lives of some middle-class women, whose characters seem altogether superficial. I honestly do not think I would have progressed beyond Chapter Three if I had been reading it myself off the page.......

1 person found this helpful