This early Isherwood novel is less of a story than a series of scenes from the years between the two world wars. Stylistically, it is somewhat self-consciously clever and the cast of characters takes some untangling. But it has some brilliant scenes and evocations, especially Lily, the war widow, whose life and loss are forensically dissected but with occasional moments of real poignancy. As it had to for its period, the book skates round the sexuality of two of its principal male characters. So, as a book it is unsatisfying but it lifts the curtain on Isherwood's genius at a formative stage.