This latest volume of autobiography opens in 1934, in an isolated hamlet in the Cotswolds. Mr. Croft-Gooke was 30 years old. He had published six novels, was earning £300 a year, and considered himself 'an enviable young man'. He had a house with peacocks on the lawn. He was happy. He decided however to revisit Argentina, where he travelled extensively, lecturing and meeting old friends and new. When he returned to his isolated hamlet, in fog and snow, he was no longer happy, but restless and unsettled. He decided to go back to Kent, where he was born.
If they've got any sense they'll leave the boy with Alicia Robbins.'But they didn't.They (the Juvenile Court, that is) took Gerry Lovell away from the old spinster who had taken him in and cared for him so passionately and they had packed him off to an Approved School.Gerry had always been 'the one who was different': even as a boy he found crime only an excitement, not a moral wrong.Perhaps he could have been rescued from this but he wasn't.
In this latest volume in Mr. Croft-Cooke's autobiographical series, he writes about the uneasy world of the 1930s and of Spain before the Civil War.On a personal level, he tells about his new venture into the second-hand book trade, when through patience and determination he managed to survive brilliantly where it would have been so easy to have failed.As a creative writer he battled through more ups and downs than would seem possible, yet always emerged triumphant, if scarred, determined to live by the profession he had chosen, no matter what the difficulties.
Part of Croft-Cooke's series of autobiographical works, The Sensual World. The Author says, "I have given this book its title because the words seem to fit each of the two journeys it records, journeys which, in the cant phrase of the courtroom, ran concurrently. The first was through the Mediterranean on a Yugoslav cargo boat during the coldest month of one of Europe's most icy winters for a century. The second was along the coastlines of some recent fiction, my choice being made for me by the booksellers in various ports on whose stocks of Penguins I relied."