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Altered States

About the Book

Altered States

The questions, discussion topics, author biography, and suggested reading list that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Anita Brookner's Altered States. We hope they will enrich your understanding of this remarkable novel of passion and loss by one of England's most intelligent, profound, and emotionally astute writers.

Alan Sherwood considers himself rather a dull man, absorbed in the familiar routine of his law practice, his modest social life, and visits to his widowed mother. But then he encounters Sarah Miller and his orderly life is thrown into frightening emotional disarray. Sarah fascinates him and holds him in helpless sexual thrall while eluding all his efforts to take possession of her. Tormented by his inability to control her and shocked by his mother's remarriage, Alan submits to an engagement with Sarah's friend, the fragile and dependent Angela. Alan attempts to be a good husband, but when Sarah suddenly returns, he momentarily turns his back on Angela, with tragic consequences that change his life forever.

Heartbreaking, eloquent, and exquisitely crafted, told with all of Anita Brookner's famous skill and precision, Altered States is a masterful piece of work by a major writer at the height of her powers.

Altered States
by Anita Brookner

  • Publication Date: January 12, 1998
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0679773258
  • ISBN-13: 9780679773252