This is the first title of a trilogy which may, when completed, take on greater breadth and vitality than the first part would indicate. This book handles a rather tenuous psychological problem in the story of a child whose too early awareness of sexual matters shuts him out of the adult world, turns him away from his family, until he becomes more and more introverted, solitary, maladjusted to the world around him. The story ends at the outbreak of the world war, with a thwarted boy of sixteen facing insecurity. In the Goncourt tradition, a rigorously faithful analysis of psychological deviation, penetrating, but unsympathetic and of limited interest. The outside world plays no part, there is a paucity of action, the focus is entirely on the story of a troubled childhood.