The downtrodden, maladjusted life of an English adolescent in a small factory town, this presents his slovenly but loving stepmother, a drunkard father, his trusting, faithful girl, his pessimistic, pugnacious approach to the world. And this is also the story of the town's ruling family, the generations of unhappy marriages, dominating parents, misunderstood children. Here is revealed the hated chains of both ruling and working classes to the margarine factory upon which all depended for a livelihood. Through artistic devices, symbolism, frequent flashbacks, blank verse, psychological association- the two threads of plot are united in the boy who is not only himself but also the memory of the house of the town rulers. By the author of The Violent Friends, this has much of the prose quality of that, the writing which is ardent and word-wise, but without the concentration of story interest and with an almost unduly depressing character portrayal which will limit its popularity.