The virtues of young (he must be) Mr. Churchill's autobiographically derived (it must be) book are probably those which the first novel can least afford -- an open-faced niceness and a certain conventionality which is implied by the title. Jack Kokonos is the kind of boy who just runs in place like ""mice on a treadmill."" When first seen here he's one of the chosen 32 Rhodes scholars crossing over to Oxford having left Chris (his first girl) and medical school (which he really had wanted to enter) behind. He spends the initial year there working hard and well toward a first, and during a very curtailed-one-hour-at-the-airport with Chris, proposes to her. It's during the second year that Jack sees the girl on a horse who turns out to be the daughter of a peer with whom he will really fall in love, live with and leave to go back to that circumscribed place. A little of what's happening elsewhere (Vietnam, etc.) happens to other people rather than Jack; and what matters most is the permeable love story from its casual beginning to its foreordained end.