A novel which, conveying much of the painful pride of youth, deals with profoundly ignorant, terribly conscious Lavinia's first trip from home -- and its future results. Escaping the settled environment she has known with her composer (not successful) father, devoted but single-tracked mother, and conformist sister, she finds the Lancings and their Christmas guests the stuff that dreams are made of -- and with their paths crossing throughout the years, she finds some answers to her small, personal revolts against her everpresent despair. For it is impudent, conceited Rupert whose sharpness awakens her, Ian, who in his serious, overwhelming love, sensitizes her and who with his death in World War I makes her receptive to the suffering she sees when she revisits the Lancings.... These are the subliminal experiences of an enclosed but observant, aware personality, whose potential capacity for life makes her the focus of impact after impact until maturity is reached. For a timeless, unbearable picture of late adolescence, this has its crystalline moments of hurting significance; for a montage of English life it has a period exquisiteness. Caviarnot codfish.