Beryl Bainbridge takes a caste of her characteristic grotesque-mundane characters to Soviet Russia with all their compulsions, banalities and neurotic tics, bag and baggage, transporting them to a world of bureaucracy and incomprehensible muddle in which the unaccountable is the normal. Bainbridge plays the full gamut of her comic tricks with her displaced persons, especially the helpless Ashburner who doesn't know why he's there, what he's doing, where his mistress or his luggage are and why his only possession is his fishing rod, which he took along to convince his wife (who couldn't give a bean anyway) that he was going for a piscatory holiday in Scotland. Style is superb, full of comic deflations and bathos, sharp arabesques, swoops and dives of pitch, in which the 'little people' engrossed in their own obsessive concerns negotiate terra incognita. Told with a knowing terse naivete typical of earlier Bainbridge. The central symbol of the Winter Garden refers to the bare patch of earth in Ashburner's back garden, never reached by sun, and icy Mother Russia. Displacement is a metaphor for all Bainbridge's people, who move through a demonic dream in which both anxiety and comic tension build, crazily lurching to a predestined conclusion.