As playwright, painter and novelist, Richard Fenchurch has been both successful and rich, but now, in his mid-sixties, he's beginning to fall apart: again.
His daughter plucks him from the squalor of his London house and installs him in the old family home, the mansion where he courted his first wife.
Here, in a familiar house and in a changed though recognisable landscape, Fenchurch struggles to keep his grip on freedom and sanity, and allows himself to relax into memory.
Time is catching up with him, but it is memory that produces the more startling revelation.
Fenchurch's love for his wife was real enough - it was a successful marriage as these things go - but the old surroundings, both the building and the land itself, bring back to him the irresistibly ardent drive of his passionate affair with Isabella, his fiancee's mother.
Returning to fiction after fourteen years, David Storey has created both a sharply comic vision of the indignities of age and a delicately erotic evocation of a youthful and dangerous affair.