Only a fragment, this is still a splendid story which, for those who know Sydney, conveys the tang of that very special place and its people. The seedy house, the feral garden behind it, the cliff overlooking the harbour upon which it sits, and the cubby ('tree-')house built in the branches of a huge moreton bay fig rooted at the rock face. But, like all Patrick White novels, it is a profoundly interior experience as well, not of one but two children brought for safety during the second war. Narrative, thought, dialogue converge in the heads, memories, lives, and dreams of each character. Not just the adults who revolve around them, but the wise children themselves, growing into awareness from exotic to australian, outcast to included, and from sexually polymorphous to sexually experienced, with each other and with those of all ages into whose ambit their lives put them. Also, like all Patrick White novels, this story begins at the start of a life and ends at its finish, but in the case of each child it is a life within a life, begun effectively as displaced nostalgic, and ending at a point of assimilation (by VE day) with a new Australian place as a new person with unspoken understanding that no matter what expectation may have been held upon arrival, and cherished over the years, there is now no going back. One amazon reviewer wrote that nothing happens in this book. Well, only if war, death, fight, flight, prostitution, nymphomania, orgasm, alcoholism, voyeurism, addiction, cancer, rape and near rape, sibling and marital conflicts are all nothing. All are present in unique language bewildering at first and then amazingly compact once awareness comes. Worth a few readovers even for the White-aware; probably the summit of his style as a novelist.