The setting: the coast of California. The narrator: Susan, twenty-six, unmarried, the daughter of rich parents, whose life seems to have come to a stop. She has reached desperation on the morning when a personable young man, Charles Nicolo, walks into her life. The long weekend they spend together (the novel's entire time span) is one of shocks, surprises, tensions and emotional crises.
The novel, like Charles, shifts quickly from mood to mood. When at its most savage, it is sharply comic. Charles' extremes provoke even his victims to laughter. And their story ends in ironic anticlimax, to Susan's enormous amusement, and in compassion, which her experience has taught her.
The reviewers say:
"Written with such energy, wit and flexibility that its atmosphere of charged hysteria is intensified rather than exploded by comedy. A daring, imaginative novel." The Times Literary Supplement (London)
"A quite brilliant talent for creating emotions." Yorks Post (England)
"Marvellous scenes of comedy, uncompromising honesty." Sunday Telegraph (London)
"Comic, deadpan, very intelligent." Oxford Mail (England)
"[Miss Galen] exploits all the sinister possibilities of bright sunshine and suburban normality to create an atmosphere every bit as flesh-creeping as that of The Turn of the Screw." The Daily Telegraph (London)
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