[Angela] preferred to think of us in a genteel country setting, in a house called The Old Rectory, or The Old Post Office, in which she, in a flowered skirt, and one of her eternal blouses, would bake bread or entertain guests of the squirearchical class.
Altered States, ch. 8
'Genteel', 'country', 'a flowered skirt', 'squirearchical': Brookner picks her words damningly. The stiletto of her irony is perhaps here at its sharpest but thinnest; it's possible not everyone will hear her subtle scorn. How to prove it? It's about city vs. country, outsiders vs. insiders, the wary and the excluded vs. the complacent and the established. It's about Brooknerians vs. the likes of Angela and the rest of the comfortable or comforted world.