Introduced by Douglas Gifford. Mr Alfred is an elderly schoolteacher dogged by a sense of failure. The rejection of his poetry and his nightly escape to the pub all contribute to his malaise. Perhaps most harrowing is his innocent but obsessive love for Rose, one of his pupils. This 'affair' is maliciously reported and he is torn from his familiar job and transferred to an even rougher school. Against a nightmarish background of gang warfare and public desecration the story reaches a frightening climax. This novel provides significant observation of a critical period in the saga of modern, urban youth. But its most striking achievement is in its portrait of Mr Alfred whose values and sensitive nature are so tragically at odds with his environment. 'A bright book, full of perceptions.' The Times 'Skillfully done . . . the strange totemism of city gangs is used to great effect.' TLS 'This book has a rough and gutsy authenticity; it is entertaining and perceptive.' Oxford Mail

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