Watmough has a habit of beginning each chapter with an address to his protagonist/alter ego/""scapegoat"" Davey Bryant: ""In the unreality of mental illness, Davey, you could find delay but no solution."" Or--""Oh, infinitely more vulnerable Davey, you have established with jutting chin your second nest."" And this mannerism may contribute to the sense you have of not so much reading a novel as unwillingly eavesdropping upon a private mumble of sexual self-analysis and scantily camouflaged autobiography. Davey Bryant, a Cornish lad, joins the Navy only to be thrown in the psycho ward for homosexuality. What next? The Anglican priesthood, but not quite. Parisian gigolo--only briefly. Teacher in an English boarding school. Emigration to Canada and a stable relationship with lover Ken. Watmough's disdain for drama or even half-taut shape makes the book an endless serving of effeminate dialogue and tone: ""Incidentally, that ghastly experience on my first day of teaching: the ubiquity of those nose-running, sweat-smelling little fiends on their elected battlefields and again in the showerstalls, confirmed my belief that I had no taste for classical pederasty."" And most readers will have no taste for pouting, pretentious Davey.