David's brother was the antithesis of his own ""namby-pamby"" self during their harassed boyhood. Jack, adventurous, unyielding and leather-tough, had the mettle to carry him through their father's sadistic beatings and quarrels with their mother and some rough school years. David just survived. Adolescence gave Jack the happy hobby of ""landing a sheila"" and sporting her in the rumble of the Australian post-war jazz age. David suffered from the burden of being the ""perpetual figure captioned 'Before'."" But at sixteen David finds his niche in writing and, as the brothers progress through young manhood, their positions are slowly reversed. David's newspaper career blossoms and through the ambitions of his wife he is well on the way to becoming the ""Golden Boy"" of the social set. Jack remains just rowdy and uninspired. Inevitably David becomes Jack's surrogate. A slow-paced, heavy psychological study for the more patient reader, and certainly a switch from Johnston's earlier glamor-edged entertainments.