From The World Next Door of the asylum to the forbidden zone of homosexuality, walled off by fear and guilt, this treats the deflected, deviating adolescence of a boy with softer shadings than in the first book. Here the focus is on Matthew when at thirteen he is the victim of his parents' divorce and his mother's remarriage to an unpleasant character, while Matthew is sent to a boarding school in France. The further defection of Scott, a young man whom he had idolized and emulated, brings him to the point of self-destruction from which he is saved by Michel, a teacher in his school. In the love affair which follows, Matthew at first knows no shame, is carried by the confidence of his youth, refuses to recognize its inacceptability. But during a summer with his parents- and with Michel, Matthew is increasingly sensitive to the insecurity of a relationship which can only be suspect and shameful, and openly confronted by the disgust of Scott, the cold horror of his mother, he suicides... The exposed vulnerability of this situation, in a handling which is not reliant on shock but generates sympathy, this makes its mark.