A Start in Life (1981)Read about the other novels on the list.
This was Brookner’s first published novel – she seems to spring into being as a novelist fully-formed. The rot in Ruth Weiss’s life began when she was small, and her nurse told her that Cinderella shall go to the ball – but the ball never materialised. Instead she’s working on the second volume of her academic study, “Women in Balzac’s Novels”, and taking care of her helpless, selfish, childish parents – who only want to have fun, not to grow old and die. It’s blackly, bleakly, wonderfully funny.