This more successful successor to The Seasons of Love (1960) is attractively French in character, namely ail gall, an ironic sophistication, and finally a residual resignation at The Way Life Is. At any rate for Laurent Brecey ""everything is temporary. I live on a train. I travel through life."" He's an ugly, graceless boy to begin with (a real ""gosse"") but he's got a lively, nervy mind, and there are some very funny childhood scenes. Then there's the war and an inglorious end. to idealism in the Resistance; his return to Paris; his cavalier marriage to Odile (""love at first sight?"" ""there wasn't even time"") and a prize winning novel; Odile's accidental death, the intermittent affairs to follow, a first love- a real love-a hopeless love... The novel is not quite the sum of its best parts, but Brecey, even though he's at loose ends, has none of the existential emptiness which has been so fashionable. He's a quixotic, independent type hovering between states of grace and disgrace. He is also the book.