Lewis Percy, as Brookner herself acknowledged in an article in the Independent in November 1990, was roundly condemned by critics. But she remained true to what she thought of as her suburban novel, which a walk down Wandsworth Bridge Road on the way to the hairdresser's had inspired. Seduced into side-roads she found 'a distracting melancholy, an intensification of longing, and a landscape to mirror both'.
Innocence was,she opined, her theme. But surely Brookner is the least innocent of writers? Nevertheless, she found the 'radical dissociation' of certain critics surprising - 'as if in their world timorousness and doubt had been eliminated'.
Ah, whose side is Brookner on? Is she an insider or an outsider? It is a perennial and also a fruitful question.