And there were the compensations: the high standards of care. Roland would have been soothed by the fine housekeeping, the attention paid to his comfort. He himself was almost persuaded that such a bargain, such an arrangement, could be justified. But it was light years away from the real thing. It was the sort of marriage that no romantic worth his salt could contemplate. There would be consolation in the prospect, but little sincerity. The absence, or loss, of sincerity might in the long run prove too high a price to pay.
Strangers, Ch. 3
There is a sense, in Strangers, probably only because it turned out to be her last full-length novel, of Brookner taking a last walk around the block, of her stating her case for the last time. Her allegiance, finally, is with Romanticism. That's the message. Or the message in this particular passage. As she goes on, she always twists and shifts. Nothing is quite for keeps. The conflicts, to the last, remain unresolved. But there is, as I say, here, strongly a feeling of accounts finally being rendered.