I felt as if I were in the presence of a distinct culture, rather like the one that had prevailed in the Russian novels I so enjoyed, in which endless days are spent sitting on terraces ... I had the same sensation of time being endlessly capacious, and memory and melancholy being equally tyrannical...
A Friend from England, ch. 1
The passage above goes on to quote from what Brookner, possibly with her tongue in her cheek, said was her favourite novel, Goncharov's Oblomov:
What meads, what kvasses were drunk, what pies were baked at Oblomovka!The dedicated Brooknerian will recognise this also from the opening of Visitors:
What meads, what kvasses were brewed, what pies were baked at Oblomovka!Why the slight difference? Possibly she was referring to a different translation, but I like to think of Brookner, like Sir Walter Scott, quoting from memory from her well-stocked mind.