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‘Griselda de Reptonville did not know what love was until she joined one of Mrs Hatch’s famous house parties at Beams, and there met Leander …’
The Late Breakfasters (1964) was the sole novel Robert Aickman published in his lifetime. Its heroine Griselda is invited to a grand country house where a political gathering is to be addressed by the Prime Minister, followed by an All Party Dance. Expecting little, Griselda instead meets the love of her life. But their fledgling closeness is cruelly curtailed, and for Griselda life then becomes a quest to recapture the wholeness and happiness she felt all too briefly.
‘Those, if any, who wish to know more about me’ – Aickman wrote in 1965 – ‘should plunge beneath the frivolous surface of The Late Breakfasters.’ Opening as a comedy of manners, its playful seriousness slowly fades into an elegiac variation on the great Greek myth of thwarted love.
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