The first Billy Liar novel, about fifteen years ago, was made into an amusing Tom Courtenay-Julie Christie film and a British television series and Waterhouse includes several fairly funny sight gags in this sequel. Nearing middle age, Billy lives with his childless wife Jeanette and his mother in a drab complex and works as a flack for the drab town of Shepford. His spurting fantasies, uncontrollable as ever, still keep him stumbling through a dally reality that is now doubly fogged over by unacknowledged alcoholism. And he has a cynical alter ego, Oscar, to contend with also--a dream figure who comments on the passing action. Billy's involved in a liaison with Helen, another drunk, whose husband finally confronts him with a hands-off ultimatum. Meanwhile Billy is shooting for a senior slot at the office and is trying to pull off a children's dog show to demonstrate his competence at publicity. But he's a failure at everything, including adultery, and winds up in a lesser job with his dull wife pregnant as they move into a deadly new housing project. It's alternately vodka-funny while as wretched as a half-finished sherry the morning after.