This peculiar comic novel concerns two men and a woman and looks at how they came to be where they were when they met and the effect that meeting had upon them.
One man is Epitome Quirkstandard, a benighted aristocrat in the Wodehousian tradition whose staff have abandoned him to go and fight in the First World War and who discovers the taste for learning â€“ especially when he attempts to make his own breakfast.
The other man is Mr. Crepuscular, a man who has written a multitude of educative pamphlets that he kindly rents out to Quirkstandard. As an illiterate scamp he ran away to join the circus, but through a series of unlikely adventures he ends up as a wise quasi-Buddhist who understands that sometimes the circus just isn’t the right place to be.
And the woman is Quirkstandard’s aunt, Penelope Penultimate, a beautiful but severe lady of mature years who spent the majority of her life abroad taking parties of teenage girls on adventure holidays, with no insurance.
The story comes to a head when she issues an invitation to the men to come to her cottage in the country for the weekend. When they do so all manner of storylines come together, leading to unexpected revelations, arguments, jealousies, tensions, parlour games, picnics and nudity. Oh, itâ€™s so exciting.
Along the way the book is filled with historical and biographical asides as it covers the broad sweep of life from the sawdust circuses of the 1860s, through the Amazon Basin of the 1890s, right up to the ultra-modern trench-warfare of the 1910s. It is discursive and meandering in a way that makes it a particularly diminutive descendant of Tristram Shandy or Three Men In A Boat or something akin to Douglas Adams without the science-fiction. Some people like this sort of thing.
The author, A.F. Harrold, is a prize-winning performance poet, comedian and Englishman. More can be discovered at