Anita Brookner's plots, while never predictable, tend towards the schematic, especially in those that focus on a cast of characters. Olga Kenyon asked Brookner about this in Women Writers Talk in 1989, in relation to Family and Friends:
Kenyon: You've chosen a family saga, but concise, controlled, through a series of family photographs. Why did you choose that form?
Brookner: Because it was easier. It was not a difficult book to write; it was almost entirely free of anxiety. A chapter to each one is almost the easiest form.