This is a little masterpiece of portraiture, with several brilliantly original moments and an entertaining theme even though it may be a difficult book to place. The background is a small Welsh seaport village. Gladstone Williams is a budding intellectual of seventeen who is currently preoccupied with giving his life a sense of style. He is also the leader of a small gang, and we watch him through the eyes of his chief lieutenant, Lew Morgan. During their summer holidays the gang takes over an abandoned fishing boat down on the shore. One day they have a permanent new resident, Ashton Vaughan, a scapegrace alcoholic and brother of the richest man of the village. Gladstone undertakes Ashton Vaughan's rehabilitation. Gradually Gladstone recognizes that Ashton is a great fraud in many ways though he is determined to reunite him with his rich brother. He finally succeeds but a double tragedy occurs and Gladstone's mother and the police make him join the navy. Lew Morgan the narrator never sees Gladstone again. This summer story is beautifully anchored to the Depression year 1936. Its virtues include teenage dialogue that is crisp, subtle and funny. As these boys come of age, they find that their last refuge in an ever-darkening world is laughter...a continuous wry laughter of terrible discovery.