In the trees! It's coming!
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is/was a longtime collaborator of the Merchant/Ivory Great Books on Film factory, and there is perhaps the slightest whiff of the pedantically tasteful in her prose style. It's a faultless story — an open-ended parable about spiritual needs and how, and by who, they're met, with reasonable characterizations and a couple quite resonant images and set pieces — but, I dunno... here's the first paragraph:
It was the girls who first brought him here. I call them "girls" because of their girlish temperaments, though they were almost middle-aged. Maeve was by far the more emotional of the two, with a habit of turning her pale-blue eyes upward like a saint or a martyr. Betty was sturdier, with a square muscular body to anchor them both. They shared an old house in the town, one of those run-down, peeling places that smell of mold inside. During the two or three years I had known them, their goodness had made them take up several needy causes in the town: pregnant teens, abandoned families, boys caught stealing for drugs. One time, they sheltered a suspected sex offender, which made them very unpopular; when he turned out to be guilty, they remained unrepentant, unshaken in the faith that they had done the right thing.