After A Single Man, this is my favorite Isherwood book. The four stories interconnect in several fascinating ways. They say a lot about the passage of time, about European history and Isherwood's personal history. They also say plenty about various forms of detachment. In fact, "Variations on Detachment" could be the book's sub-title. Isherwood has a way of gently underscoring the precariousness of being gay during a more repressive time in Western culture. "Mr. Lancaster" and "Paul" were the most moving sections in this regard. Throughout, Isherwood writes in clear, clean prose. It may sound like I'm reaching for a simile but as I was reading this book, I felt like I was drinking fresh spring water.