Whereas the earlier (1957-Lippincott) Disquiet and Peace was a low-keyed drama of a marriage against an Edwardian background, this is a contemporary first person portrait which again analyzes and audits experience at a common level and in a cautious vein---to the point where detachment can almost be equated with hebetude. The scenes from the life of Joe Lunn are presented in two parts. In 1939, he is a science master in a small English rural school, writing his first novels, and involved in an affair with Myrtle, possessive and ultimately reproachful as the relationship pursues an unsteady course- more in pique than in passion. Years later, after the war, Joe is still temporizing about marriage, still writing, while working in Civil Service with his friend, Robert. He then meets, and falls in love with, Elspeth, but he frequently puts off any proposal of marriage-finally submits to the course he has so long avoided, and finds that it is just the beginning of unexpected reverses (his latest book, his job) and newly discovered rewards... An honest assessment of character and conflict, evenly interesting if seldom exciting.