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In these words, the extraordinary, ordinary world of Stanley Middleton is delicately conjured: a finite world of infinite possibilities, the pattern there subliminally for his characters, but just out of reach. When Henry Shelton, a widower who teachers Latin part-time at a Midlands college, receives a letter from the forceful daughter of a woman with whom he had an affair as a schoolboy, the contact is not as it first seems, and he has cautiously to adjust to this and to his own lover's emotional vulnerability. The three of them inhabit a world which is nowhere near as stable as it first seems, although the chance of happiness is there, in a glimpse, for all of them. The path they tread toward the sea is charted by Stanley Middleton with all the skill of a master novelist.

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