“Ever since I can remember I have thought the grown-up world to be mad; its way of talking to itself and being outraged at the answers; the bright look in its eye as it goes off to feed on disaster. Aristotle said it was self-evident that human beings wanted happiness; but it seems to me they are more at home in sadness and confusion; that if these are taken away they are exposed to the heat of the sun like snails without shells or dark places.”
This vivid and strikingly witty novel examines the contradictions between the public face and the private experience. Nephew to the prime minister of England, eighteen-year-old Bert tries to make sense of the grown-up world around him, a colorful crowd of television personalities, politicians, young Trotskyites, pop stars, and eccentric relatives. With the help of his Laconic psychoanalyst, Bert questions the relation between exterior and interior reality, while Mosley himself questions art’s ability to convey these different realities. Both Bert and Mosley triumph over these challenges by the end of this engaging and innovative novel.