Brookner worked best in reaction against the prevailing culture. Critical opinion turned sour in the 1990s. Thus, with Brief Lives, begins her third phase. These are masterly books, Jamesian, the language as mandarin as James's, the themes unfashionable but enduring.
But Brookner's fiction, though it was often so accused, was never as predictable as some supposed. Rereading always uncovers fresh perspectives. George Eliot, as John Bayley once said, was, by comparison, a one-track performer.