MR. TWINING by Timothy Angus Jones


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For a leisurely, contemplative and gently philosophical peregrination, schoolmaster Twining's unexpected adventures have a whilom appeal -- but no great impact. Prim, 45, English, unmatured, innocent, he heads for an indulgent south of France holiday, in ignorance, overspends, hitchhikes and borrows money, gets involved in a nudist colony and ends up as tutor to the niece of most wealthy, civilized and literate Henry Bessel. Bessel's vills is a domain of daily dreaminess in which Cecile, the niece, sixteen, yearns for experience rather than learning, and Twining lotus-eats, while other guests take their parasitical privileges for granted. When Bessel leaves Twining in charge, complications and fast confusion result food, Cecile's (imagined) pregnancy, servant problems -- and a storm -- combine, first to enhance, then to belittle the little man. It takes his headmaster and his patron to re-establish his self-respect. The miniscule round in the great big square of an alien environment proves out to the steadfastness of the uncourageous in an atmosphere in which the South Wind blows spasmodically and foggily.

Publisher: Knopf