I'm not a huge Anita Brookner fan, but her novels are slim - I like short books - and I'm enjoying A Start in Life though I don't know when it's set, it is hard to tell. The first line grabbed me: Dr Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature.
And I laughed when Ruth (Dr Weiss), cooking for a man she likes when she is a student, asks for advice on how to make chicken casserole. Her mother's cook/cleaner/confidante Mrs Cutler says: Well, you can buy some chicken pieces at Sainsbury's, put them in a Pyrex dish with a tin of Campbell's mushroom soup, and bung the whole thing in the oven for a couple of hours.
I remember the first time I fried rice - my flatmate and I were clueless - I phoned my mother and asked if you had to boil it first. I wasn't sure. Hard to believe.