'If one saw behind the faces into the hearts, one would die.'A suburban couple have drifted into the shallows of middle-aged boredom. Their fourteen-year-old son is a stranger, meeting their attempts at love with hostile indifference. Surly at home, he is a dab hand at shoplifting and looks like sliding into delinquency.Moving from Brisbane to a country convent and the Gold Coast, the novel is a brilliant, witty portrait of the surface of ordinary life. The Leverson family and their connections appear normal but desire and inner emotion are never quite so simple.Thea Astley is in top form in this 1965 Miles Franklin Award winner.