A book about "genteel" poverty - a family living together in the confines of a shabby English seaside home. This is a book, near perfect, in detail. The mother is so romantically disappointed...she sits in a railway station all night long, reading novels. The setting is just after the end of World War II, but the battle still goes on - at least in the life of this family.
In genteel poverty and unremitting strife they live together - a father, a mother, their son, a teenage daughter - in the shabby confines of their small, English seaside house. The Second World War has ended, but not the battles waged daily on this domestic front. To escape the life she herself has half created, the romantically disappointed mother spends half the night reading novels in the railway station, while the melancholy father, in all ways bankrupt, weeps in front of the radio. In the woods, where land mines still lie undetected, the fifteen-year-old Madge sneaks off after dark to tryst with a German P.O.W. And Alan, the troubled adolescent son who tries vainly to retreat into silence, suffers the family he can neither alter or ignore, at least not until it has been destroyed.