Brooknerianism creeps up on you. You have a disposition, which the novels of Anita Brookner feed and nurture. One day you find yourself living the life you read about and dreamed about and feared, and really it is the only way to live. But if you shared that life with other Brooknerians, then it wouldn't be a Brooknerian life.
Brooknerians are not always lonely. They're often, like the narrator of 'At the Hairdresser's', 'not lonely, except in company'. Ideal company is what is sought, and that's something that's hardly ever found outside the pages of a book.
She is lonely, she says, for 'ideal company' – which is not quite the same as being lonely. 'I'm very good on my own. And I manage, I think, pretty well. But it takes courage.'
Well, I live in the world, like everybody has to, and I go out, do the shopping, and do the cleaning - that sort of thing. See friends. I suppose what one wants really is ideal company and books are ideal company.